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Kerbal Space Program challenges you to celebrate 20 years of the International Space Station flights

Kerbal Space Program is celebrating the 20th anniversary of continuous human habitation on the International Space Station.
Kerbal Space Program is celebrating the 20th anniversary of continuous human habitation on the International Space Station. (Image credit: Private Division)

Space gamers have a chance to show their love of the physics-based spaceflight simulator Kerbal Space Program and celebrate the International Space Station, which will mark 20 years of continuous crewed flight on Monday (Nov. 2).

Private Division, the company behind Kerbal Space Program, has asked players of the popular space simulation game to send videos of the game's astronauts, dubbed Kerbonauts, doing activities that space station crews do for real.

"Send us a time-lapse video of Kerbals doing spacewalks, science experiments, eating snacks and everything in between aboard your most accurate recreation of the @Space_Station over its 20-year lifespan. We'll choose our favorites based on accuracy and creativity," Kerbal representatives said in a series of tweets posted on Monday (Oct. 26).

Related: International Space Station at 20: A photo tour

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"On November 2, join @Space_Station expert Dr. Gary H. Kitmacher for a @Reddit Ask Me Anything where they'll comment on the engineering accuracy of the top submissions and answer your questions about #SpaceStation20th — and if Kerbals are really out there in space," the company added.

Kerbal Space Program has been praised for its commitment to realistic physics since it was first released in 2011. The game mimics the effects of using multiple rocket stages to get payloads to orbit and the different speeds that spacecraft fly in at higher or lower altitudes above Earth, for example. 

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Kerbonauts may remember that earlier this year, Kerbal and NASA asked players to recreate the first SpaceX commercial crew mission, Demo-2, which launched in May. Private Division asked users to share their footage on social media using the same hashtag that NASA used for its mission: #LaunchAmerica. Private Division then showed their preferred picks to NASA.

The space station has hosted well over 200 astronauts and cosmonauts since the first modules launched in 1998. The first long-duration mission, Expedition 1, launched to the orbiting complex on Oct. 31, 2000, and arrived on Nov. 2 of that year.

Over time, space station missions have increasingly focused on science research over the construction activities that dominated the station's early years. NASA is also ramping up partnerships with companies to run private missions in the near future, including permitting privately funded astronauts aboard the facility.

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Elizabeth Howell

Elizabeth Howell is a contributing writer for who is one of the few Canadian journalists to report regularly on space exploration. She is the author or co-author of several books on space exploration. Elizabeth holds a Ph.D. from the University of North Dakota in Space Studies, and an M.Sc. from the same department. She also holds a bachelor of journalism degree from Carleton University in Canada, where she began her space-writing career in 2004. Besides writing, Elizabeth teaches communications at the university and community college level, and for government training schools. To see her latest projects, follow Elizabeth on Twitter at @howellspace.