International Space Station Celebrates 15 Years of Occupancy

The first astronauts arrived at ISS 15 years ago today.

"The last time I was here was about four to five years ago, and it doesn't seem to be like I am doing any more maintenance on the space station [than before]," astronaut Scott Kelly said in a news conference from space today. He added: "I thought when I got on board this time, the material condition of the space station is very good."

Kelly was joined by his other five roommates at the International Space Station, including American Kjell Lindgren, for a news conference with people on Earth to mark the special occasion.

Looking back on the past 15 years, Kelly also recalled when an actual name -- such as Alpha -- was being considered for the space station. However, with so many international groups involved, a name never stuck and instead the giant outpost was given a rather literal moniker: International Space Station.

Kelly said he envisions a future where there may be smaller commercial space stations focused on specific goals -- and that the past 15 years of humans living at the International Space Station have proven it is "very doable."

"It would be fantastic to have researchers of all different flavors and many different people be able to go to the space station and do their research," he said. Not to mention the other added benefit, experiencing what Kelly described as the "majesty of space."

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