The International Space Station’s 1st crew recalls a Halloween launch 20 years ago

Next week, the International Space Station will hit a major milestone: 20 years of continuous crewed operations — two decades in which there have always been humans in space. That legacy began on Halloween in 2000, when the first crew lifted off.

On Oct. 31, 2000 to be exact, three men boarded a Soyuz spacecraft at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan for Expedition 1. Other crews had traveled into space to assemble the space station, but when the Expedition 1 crew arrived there on Nov. 2, NASA astronaut William Shepherd and Russian cosmonauts Sergei Krikalev and Yuri Gidzenko became the first official crew to live aboard the space station. Although much of their four-month mission was spent getting the space station ready for many future crews to live (somewhat) comfortably, they also performed the first scientific experiment on the ISS. 

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