Expedition 1

On October 31, 2000, a historic mission was launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan: U.S. Commander Bill Shepherd, Soyuz Commander Yuri Gidzenko and Flight Engineer Sergei Krikalev flew aboard a Russian Soyuz to to establish the first human presence aboard the International Space Station. The 2R mission, also known as Expedition One, was to last 136 days, circle the Earth more than 2,000 times and travel more than 91 million kilometers in the near-vacuum conditions that prevail in low orbit.

During this mission, three space shuttles would dock at the Station as well as three Progress supply vessels to unload material there.

After the first ten days in orbit, Shepherd noted in the logbook that it had been ten interesting and challenging days, that they had all written a page in space history and that the crew of Alpha was getting ready for the next shift.

As the Expedition One mission drew to a close, more than 19 weeks after launching Soyuz, Shepherd added in the logbook: “Station Alpha has been commissioned into orbit. The service module has been activated. Power and laboratory modules were brought on board. A new resupply mission with Discovery and its crew has been completed. The Station is operating normally – all systems are functional and ready for operations ”.

Realizing the importance of this moment, he concludes with these words: “We are now aboard a real spaceship, flying over any earthly border. We are not the first crew to set foot in Station Alpha, nor the last to leave. But we brought it to life. We gave it a name, and we proved that our crews can work together, on an equal footing, and that our respective countries can too, as partners. We will be able to envision bolder journeys in space, capitalizing on our differences and showing ourselves more resolute in the pursuit of our common goals. “