Lego’s International Space Station set is 16% off at Amazon for Cyber Monday

In what may just be a Cyber Mondy miracle, Lego’s International Space Station is on sale at Amazon. Lego’s model of the space station, which was released in February, is currently sold out on Lego.com, but now the highly sought-after building kit can be yours. Act fast and you can get a space station Lego set of your own for $58.99, just over $10 less than the usual price. 

With 864 pieces you can build and display an impressively realistic space station  (this was a Lego Ideas set originally) as well as two cargo spacecraft and a miniature space shuttle. The set also includes two astronaut microfigures. 

The Lego International Space Station is a model beautiful enough to stand in as a centerpiece in any space lovers home. But it’s not just for looks. Lego was sure to include impressive details like a posable Canadarm2, just like the real-life station’s mechanical arm. It also made sure the space station’s “solar panels” rotate so you can change the angle and that the kit included cargo spacecrafts, which astronauts aboard the real station depend on. 

The set even includes a 148-page booklet with facts about the International Space Station and information about the Lego fan who created this set for Lego Ideas. When you’re all done building and playing, you can set the station up on a display stand for all to admire. 

Be sure to check out more of Space.com’s Cyber Monday deals, including one on a Lego D-O Droid! 

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Ed Orgeron, LSU Players Aim to Put Past Behind Them In Return to College Station

It’s been two years since that seven overtime albatross of a Saturday night at Kyle Field yet coach Ed Orgeron still remembers it like it was yesterday. It was a game that LSU felt it had won on three, even four different occasions but when the final play was over, it was the Aggies who had squeaked out a 74-72 win.

Now, LSU returns to the scene of the crime and Orgeron stressed on Monday that putting that game and all the emotions that came with it behind them, is the most critical thing to do. 

“I thought about it this morning, to be honest with you, when I saw the film and I saw the stadium, some thoughts came by,” Orgeron said. “But you know what, it’s my job to be able to prevent problems this week, have a great practice and not allow those things to happen that happened to us last time. And we’re going to have to go and play our best game.”

Orgeron and the Tigers experienced every possible emotion from joy to anger to fatigue and ultimately, dejection. LSU thought it had the game won in regulation when Texas A&M quarterback Kellen Mond threw an interception to Grant Delpit with seconds remaining, only to be called back because Mond’s leg had been down before he threw the pass.

That was just the beginning of an exhausting back and forth game that after seven overtimes, concluded with a postgame fist fight and LSU quarterback Joe Burrow passing out from exhaustion and dehydration that required an IV in the postgame locker room.

“It’s going to be on,” Orgeron said a year later. “I’ll never forget that game last year. We’re going to be ready. There was nothing we could do about the end of that game, we felt helpless.”

Wide receiver Jaray Jenkins remembers what that evening was like, even though he was watching from the sidelines the entire time. He was a redshirt freshman in 2018 and was not playing much but remembers that expression of exhaustion that he could sense on all of the players and coaches after the game. 

But this week, the 2018 game was something that he said Orgeron hasn’t brought up too much. Because Orgeron knows how important it is to not hark on the past experience and focus on this week.

“He just said that we know what this game is gonna take,” Jenkins said. “It was a long game, seven overtimes, but we’re not trying to get it there [this time]. We’re trying to get out, get the victory and head back.”

Center Liam Shanahan wasn’t a part of the team two years ago but has been fully briefed on the LSU-Texas A&M rivalry and how much the two sides don’t like each other. The longest game Shanahan has ever played were a few overtime games while at Harvard so he can’t really fathom what it must be like to play in a seven overtime thriller. 

“It’s a

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Expanded Crew on the International Space Station Syncs Schedule and Steps Up Space Research

SpaceX Crew-1 Commander and Expedition 64 Flight Engineer Michael Hopkins of NASA, pictured here on November 20, 2020, sets up hardware for the Grip study researching how an astronaut’s dexterous manipulation is affected by microgravity during his first week aboard the International Space Station. The experiment may influence future space systems and interfaces as NASA plans missions to the Moon, Mars, and beyond. NASA/UPI

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After two decades in orbit, space station faces the inevitable repairs

The International Space Station marked a significant milestone on Monday: 20 years in orbit as humanity’s only inhabited outpost.

What was once just three pressurized rooms – America’s Unity module, with Russia’s Zvezda (“Star”) and Zarya (“Dawn”) modules – has grown into a complex of 16 chambers and a sprawling array of solar panels, connecting trusses, robot arms and instruments.

And like any complex piece of machinery, it’s prone to aging. Some of the earliest parts of the station have been in orbit since the start — and they’re starting to show it. Recent malfunctions have included a persistent air leak and the breakdown of a critical life-support system, and one cosmonaut has said the Russian modules are “exhausted.”

There’s no cause for alarm, experts say. Malfunctions on the station are normal, and the recent problems haven’t endangered the crew. And learning to deal with malfunctions is part of the mission – experience that will be vital for future human space journeys.

In the latest incident, the Russian space agency Roscosmos reported cosmonauts had repaired their oxygen generator – a key life-support system in the Zvezda module.

The system failed as a Soyuz spacecraft arrived and increased the crew to six. But it was working again the next day, and a second oxygen generator in America’s Destiny module kept working normally. In addition, the air already inside the ISS contains enough breathable oxygen for several weeks.

NASA astronaut and Expedition 63 Commander Chris Cassidy replaces components inside the Combustion Integrated Rack to support a series of ongoing flame and fuel studies on the International Space Station on Aug. 27, 2020.NASA

Roscosmos said the latest leak and oxygen system breakdown posed no danger. “All the station systems work nominally; there is no threat to the crew and ISS safety,” a Roscosmos spokesperson said.

The breakdown came as cosmonauts finally tracked down and sealed an air leak on the ISS that has persisted for more than a year – also in the aging Zvezda module.

Roughly half of the space station was built and is maintained by Russia, while NASA maintains the rest, so it might seem like a lack of maintenance in the Russian half could threaten the other. Gennady Padalka, who holds the record of 878 days for the longest stay on the ISS, told Russian media outlet RIA Novosti that the Russian half is wearing out: “All the modules of the Russian segment are exhausted.”

But space analyst and former NASA engineer Keith Cowing, the editor of NASA Watch, said many non-Russian systems on the space station also routinely suffer malfunctions, and learning to deal with them is part of the mission.

The recent breakdowns were no threat to the crew, and there are always enough spacecraft at the ISS to evacuate it in an emergency, including a Soyuz “lifeboat.”

Statements that Russian equipment on the ISS is wearing out may be sly marketing to boost funding for the space station, which is harder to obtain in Russia

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Watch as NASA celebrates 20 years of humans living on the International Space Station

Today marks the 20th anniversary of the first long-term mission to the International Space Station, known as Expedition 1. Ever since then, there have always been a handful of humans living and working in orbit on the ISS — a continuous presence of people in space.

Prior to that mission, most of NASA’s human spaceflight program revolved around launching relatively quick, weeks-long trips to orbit on the agency’s Space Shuttle. But in the mid-1990s, NASA began sending its astronauts to space for much longer trips to live on Russia’s old Mir space station. Once the US, Russia, and their international partners started piecing together the International Space Station, NASA started sending some of its astronauts to stay for months at a time beginning in 2000 — and there have been people on board ever since.

As part of Expedition 1, a crew of three astronauts launched to the space station on October 31st, 2000, on board a Russian Soyuz rocket. The flight carried two Russian cosmonauts — Yuri Gidzenko and Sergei Krikalev — and NASA astronaut Bill Shepherd, who docked with the ISS two days later on November 2nd. The trio would stay for four and a half months until March, leaving after a new crew of three came to the station aboard Space Shuttle Discovery for the start of their more than five-month stay. Their mission was aptly named Expedition 2.

NASA has been celebrating this big moment with press events from astronauts currently on board the ISS — part of Expedition 64 — as well as a virtual round table with the original members of Expedition 1. Today, the space agency will air a series of specials about the construction of the International Space Station, highlighting the research that’s been done on board the lab over the last 20 years. Tune in at 1PM ET to get a history lesson about how we’ve kept people 250 miles above Earth continuously since 2000.

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International Space Station marks 20 years of continuous occupation

The space station is old. It leaks from time to time, requiring patches like the ones the astronauts installed last month. The toilet breaks. The batteries need to be replaced. It has to dodge micrometeorites — this year alone the station has had to maneuver three times to avoid getting hit. And sometimes it does get tagged, like the time in 2016 when a piece of space debris cracked a window.

But despite the inherent dangers of space, the airless void, the radiation, the bits of debris shooting around in orbit several times faster than a speeding bullet, astronauts have somehow managed to live aboard the outpost continuously for 20 years.

On Nov. 2, 2000, NASA astronaut Bill Shepard and his Russian counterparts Yuri Gidzenko and Sergei Krikalev became the first crew to live and work on the station for an extended period, starting a streak that continues today. This month NASA is celebrating the anniversary and the work that comes from the orbiting laboratory, science experiments that range from beginning to 3-D print human organs to growing protein crystals and studying the effects of space on the human body.

For years, the station has been not just one of humanity’s greatest engineering feats — atop the architectural pantheon with the pyramids — but a way for nations to forge unlikely alliances while astronauts learned to live and work in space, and prepare for extended missions to the moon and Mars.

But as the station continues to show its age, there is concern about what comes next, and whether the United States will find itself in a position similar to 2011 when it retired its fleet of Space Shuttles without a backup ready. That left the space agency dependent on Russia to fly its astronauts to space from until SpaceX ended an ignominious chapter earlier this year with the launch of its Crew Dragon spacecraft as part of NASA’s “Commercial Crew Program.”

Now the concern is that the station will one day need to come down — in what would be a carefully coordinated but spectacular crash into the ocean — before its successor is ready.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine in recent weeks has been sounding the alarm, telling Congress it needed to better fund the efforts and plan for the future.

“We think about Apollo era, and as much as we loved it, it came to an end,” he said during a recent Senate hearing. “We had a gap of about eight years before Space Shuttle. And then after Space Shuttle retired, we had another gap of about eight years before Commercial Crew. We want to make sure that there is no gap in low Earth orbit for the United States of America.”

The next station used by U.S. astronauts likely won’t be owned and operated by NASA, but rather by a company like Axiom, which is building a commercial space station that it says would build on ISS’s legacy but cost less to assemble and be easier to

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After 20 years of service, the Space Station flies into an uncertain future

The essentially complete International Space Station in 2010, as seen by space shuttle Atlantis.
Enlarge / The essentially complete International Space Station in 2010, as seen by space shuttle Atlantis.

NASA

The Cold War had been concluded for less than a decade when NASA astronaut Bill Shepherd and two Russian cosmonauts, Sergei Krikalev and Yuri Gidzenko, crammed themselves into a Soyuz spacecraft and blasted into orbit on Halloween, 20 years ago.

Two days later their small spacecraft docked with the International Space Station, then a fraction of the size it is today. Their arrival would herald the beginning of what has since become 20 years of continuous habitation of the laboratory that NASA, leading an international partnership, would continue to build for another decade.

Born of a desire to smooth geopolitical tensions in the aftermath of the great conflict between the United States and Soviet Union, the space station partnership has more or less succeeded—the station has remained inhabited despite the space shuttle Columbia disaster in 2003, and later, nearly a decade of no US space transportation. NASA, Roscosmos, and the European, Japanese, and Canadian partners have been able to rely on one another.

Not that it has been easy. Tensions have existed from those very first moments on the station. Shepherd, who would serve as the first ISS commander over his more experienced cosmonaut counterparts, wanted to nickname the station “Alpha.” He had support for this from Krikalev, but some Russian space officials believed their earlier, Mir space station, had earned that honor. The new station, they believed, ought to be named “Beta.” NASA, too, had not signed off on this designation.

Nevertheless, Shepherd pressed ahead. He liked that Alpha was the first letter of the Greek alphabet, neither American nor Russian. So on the crew’s first day aboard the station, during a space-to-ground call with NASA Administrator Dan Goldin, Shepherd said over the public loop, “The first expedition on the space station requests permission to take the radio call sign Alpha.”

Goldin was not expecting this, and he spoke away from the microphone for a few moments, conferring with others on the ground. Then he came back and said the name “Station Alpha” was authorized for the duration of Shepherd’s nearly four-month expedition.

This suited the crew, and Shepherd replied, “Out, from Space Station Alpha.” Since then, more than five dozen other crews have rotated onto the International Space Station, most recently Expedition 63, which launched in mid-October. Always, in the two decades since, there have been at least two humans on board.

Days before the most recent launch to the space station from Kazakhstan, the mission’s NASA crew member, Kate Rubins, addressed this anniversary in the crew’s final pre-flight news conference.

“I think the International Space Station is one of the most incredible engineering achievements in human history,” she said. “It is quite a marvel to see such a giant machine that was built entirely by humans and flown off the surface of Earth still persists in space 20 years later.”

The station is unique in that no one has

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Space Station 20th: Expedition 1 Crew Launches to the International Space Station

Expedition 1 Russian cosmonaut Sergei K. Krikalev of Roscosmos, top, NASA astronaut William M. Shepherd, middle, and Russian cosmonaut Yuri P. Gidzenko, bottom, wave farewell prior to boarding the Soyuz TM31 spacecraft for launch, on October 31, 2000, at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Their launch on October 31, 2000, from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan began 20 years and counting of permanent human presence in low-Earth orbit. Two days later, they docked with the International Space Station (ISS) to begin uninterrupted operations, leading to establishing the world-class laboratory in space. NASA Photo by Bill Ingalls/UPI

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Space station marking 20 years of people living in orbit

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — The International Space Station was a cramped, humid, puny three rooms when the first crew moved in. Twenty years and 241 visitors later, the complex has a lookout tower, three toilets, six sleeping compartments and 12 rooms, depending on how you count.

Monday marks two decades of a steady stream of people living there.

Astronauts from 19 countries have floated through the space station hatches, including many repeat visitors who arrived on shuttles for short-term construction work, and several tourists who paid their own way.

The first crew — American Bill Shepherd and Russians Sergei Krikalev and Yuri Gidzenko — blasted off from Kazakhstan on Oct. 31, 2000. Two days later, they swung open the space station doors, clasping their hands in unity.

Shepherd, a former Navy SEAL who served as the station commander, likened it to living on a ship at sea. The three spent most of their time coaxing equipment to work; balky systems made the place too warm. Conditions were primitive, compared with now.


Installations and repairs took hours at the new space station, versus minutes on the ground, Krikalev recalled.

“Each day seemed to have its own set of challenges,” Shepherd said during a recent NASA panel discussion with his crewmates.

The space station has since morphed into a complex that’s almost as long as a football field, with eight miles (13 kilometers) of electrical wiring, an acre of solar panels and three high-tech labs.

“It’s 500 tons of stuff zooming around in space, most of which never touched each other until it got up there and bolted up,” Shepherd told The Associated Press. “And it’s all run for 20 years with almost no big problems.”

“It’s a real testament to what can be done in these kinds of programs,” he said.

Shepherd, 71, is long retired from NASA and lives in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Krikalev, 62, and Gidzenko, 58, have risen in the Russian space ranks. Both were involved in the mid-October launch of the 64th crew.

The first thing the three did once arriving at the darkened space station on Nov. 2, 2000, was turn on the lights, which Krikalev recalled as “very memorable.” Then they heated water for hot drinks and activated the lone toilet.

“Now we can live,” Gidzenko remembers Shepherd saying. “We have lights, we have hot water and we have toilet.”

The crew called their new home Alpha, but the name didn’t stick.

Although pioneering the way, the three had no close calls during their nearly five months up there, Shepherd said, and so far the station has held up relatively well.

NASA’s top concern nowadays is the growing threat from space junk. This year, the orbiting lab has had to dodge debris three times.

As for station amenities, astronauts now have near-continuous communication with flight controllers and even an internet phone for personal use. The first crew had sporadic radio contact with the ground; communication blackouts could last hours.

While the three astronauts got

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International Space Station marks 20 years of humans on board

ORLANDO, Fla., Oct. 30 (UPI) — The 20th anniversary Saturday of humans living aboard the International Space Station spotlights the global cooperation and scientific discoveries that benefit all people, according to astronauts and others involved in missions there.

NASA and space agencies around the world are using the milestone to underscore achievements in space since the end of deep-space crewed missions in the 1970s and the space shuttle program in 2011.

Those who participated in space station construction find it hard to believe it has been inhabited for two decades, former astronaut Michael López-Alegría said. He has been to the orbiting platform three times and was the last person to visit before permanent missions started in 2000.

“After so many years, it’s still in very good shape,” López-Alegría said. “The ISS is the most audacious and complex construction project ever undertaken in space. It’s pretty amazing that everything fit together perfectly and it all works so well.”

Without the space station, humanity may be lacking key knowledge about space radiation, microgravity effects on people and life-support systems for long-term space visits, López-Alegría said. And, he said, living in a relatively low Earth orbit is a crucial step toward missions to the moon and Mars.

“The space station is an integral part of space exploration,” López-Alegría said. “We still haven’t been able to build reliable life-support systems for a lengthy mission to Mars, such as carbon dioxide scrubbers to keep air breathable for long periods without replacements. The space station is the best place to test things like that.”

During his missions to help build and command the space station, López-Alegría amassed 67 hours, 40 minutes on 10 spacewalks, a record for NASA surpassed only by Russian cosmonaut Anatoly Solovyev at 82 hours, 22 minutes during 16 spacewalks.

Cooperation with Russia

NASA and Russia cooperated on the space station project after the two nations operated orbiting laboratories — the U.S. SkyLab, occupied for just 24 weeks with gaps between three missions, and Russia’s Space Station Mir, occupied with two short gaps for 12 1/2 years.

NASA has had hundreds of people supporting the ISS program at different times, said Robyn Gatens, the agency’s acting director for the space station, including mission controllers in Houston and Moscow.

The orbiting research complex, which spans the length of a football field, is equivalent to a five-bedroom home with a gym, two bathrooms and a 360-degree bay window — the cupola — that allows views of Earth. Large arrays of solar panels power its systems, while liquid propellant rocket engines keep it from losing altitude.

The space station, which cost more than $150 billion to build and costs NASA over $3 billion annually, flies at more than 250 miles above the Earth at over 17,000 mph.

More than 240 people from 19 nations have visited the space laboratory and living quarters, with over 100 nations sending research or educational projects.

Continuous presence

“It’s an amazing accomplishment, just the continuous presence on a complex international platform

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