Prior orbital stations

Not to belabor the point, but the most operational experience in an artificial orbital station is still possessed by the former Soviet Union and today's Russia. In discussing that experience with Vladimir Gubanov of the Production Company Energia, it is clear that the Russian engineers and researchers are aware of the limitations of a crewed artificial orbital station. Gubanov's presentations to the Russian government clearly emphasized an operational Moon-based orbital station as a precursor to venturing to Mars, and as a launching platform for automatic spacecraft space exploration. The artificial orbital stations that have been operational are listed below. Salyut 6 was reactivated after a serious hypergolic propellant leak forced evacuation of the station. An innovative adaptation of Earth-based tools to operate in space by a single cosmonaut permitted repair of the propellant system. MIR was in orbit the longest of any station, some 15 years.

SkyLab, USA civil space station

Salyut 2, 3, & 4, USSR military orbital stations

Salyut 1, 4, 6, & 7, USSR civil orbital stations

MIR, USSR civil orbital station

ISS, International Space Station, USA with

Russia and European and Japanese participation

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