The beginning of the real space age?

Today may be an important anniversary.  It is conceivable that today will mark the tenth anniversary of the last time every human was on Earth.  On October 31, 2000, the Expedition 1 crew of William Shepherd, Sergei K. Krikalev, and Yuri Gidzenko launched aboard their Soyuz from the Baikonur Cosmodrome for the first extended stay at the International Space Station (ISS).  They docked with the station on November 2, and since then the ISS has been permanently crewed.  There has always been someone in space for the past decade.

The ISS should remain operational for another decade, but once it is abandoned will there be other space stations that will be permanently crewed?  Hopefully, yes.  Here are some of the groups that are planning on launching space stations in the near future:

Bigelow Aerospace

Energia/Orbital Technologies


So it is possible that with all these laboratories, and hotels, and factories and whatever else ends up in orbit, that there will always be people out in space.  October 30, 2000 may mark the last time in history that every single human was on Earth.  October 31, 2000 may really mark when we became a spacefaring civilization.


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