The International Space Station
Building a sprawling space station while it’s in orbit around the Earth was never going to be easy, and co-ordinating six different space agencies to commission, launch and install the various exceptionally complex modules over a period of more than 20 years probably made things more challenging. Since 2000, the International Space Station (ISS) has hosted a constant human presence in low orbit. It has also been an important base for more than 3,000 scientific experiments. Key discoveries have included the effects of long-term exposure to zero gravity on the body, and a method for synthesising a state of matter called Bose-Einstein condensate.
“We built the largest peacetime engineering project ever, with pieces that never actually saw each other until they got to orbit” – Christian Maender, former technical liaison for ISS operations at NASA