All your space stations are belong to us

Most of us will never live in space. Personally, I know that I won’t. But there are very few people who don’t dream of it, because they don’t really think about the difficulty of being up there. I mean, if you need something you can’t just drive over to the space Wal-Mart and you can’t even order stuff over the internet since Amazon would take about 2 months.

Then again, maybe we’re all living in space right now. I mean, it sort of feels like it, right?

The first space station

Most Americans think the first space station was Skylab, but that’s just our cultural bias talking. The first orbiting craft designed for people to visit was the Soviet Union’s Salyut, which launched two years before Skylab and lasted longer in orbit.

The first joint mission was Apollo Soyuz, in 1975. It was the first time that countries collaborated in space exploration and set the stage for the development of the international space station which is still in orbit now.

Space stations throughout history

In recorded history, there have only been a few semi-permanent living facilities outside our atmosphere, and with the exception of the most recent, each has been put up there by either the US or the Soviet Union (later, Russia.) The latest contains modules from many different countries, which is pretty impressive considering that down here on earth we can’t always match our socks.

If you’re interested in a visual history of all the space stations so far, you’re in luck on this Fun Friday… here’s a little video that gives you exactly what you’re looking for.

I wonder…

You know, they have internet service on the International Space Station. I don’t know exactly how they do it, there must be some sort of permanent uplink and downlink as if it were a traditional satellite. I don’t know if it’s fast enough for live video but it probably is. If you think about it, that’s not asking a lot with today’s technology.

Of course the space station is by nature going to be a little behind the cutting edge. First you have to test all that stuff to make sure it will hold up in space. It’s not like you can send a new router up there. Then, it has to get up there and every pound you send up costs about $10,000.

But just imagine. Just imagine how cool it would be if the people who are up in the international space station right now were reading this article and then watched a video about space stations. That’s about as awesome as it could get. Wait, it could get a tiny bit better.

Imagine if someone in the space station read this article and then commented from space! Oh well, I’m probably asking too much from a silly Fun Friday article. Or… am I?

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 6,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.