This year was a big one for spaceflight, with governmental agencies and the private sector alike marking many key milestones.
During this watershed year, for example, NASA changed course to pursue new goals, the first private space capsule was launched into orbit and the International Space Station reached the 10-year mark of continuous human habitation.
Here's a brief rundown of the top six spaceflight stories of 2010: 6. Space Station Celebrates 10 years of Continuous Occupation
The first live-in crew arrived at the International Space Station on Nov. 2, 2000. Since then, individuals have come and gone, but NASA and its international partners have been occupying the station uninterrupted. This year, they reached the 10-year anniversary of continous human presence on the orbital laboratory.
The fact that humanity has an established, decade-long presence on a space outpost 220 miles (354 kilometers) above Earth's surface is a big deal, NASA officials have said. It highlights the progress we've made in becoming a true spacefaring civilization, and it hints at bigger achievements to come.
Assembly of the station began in 1998 and is almost complete. The station, now nearly as long as a football field, has hosted more than 600 science and technology experiments over its lifetime, NASA officials have said. That number should rise substantially as the station transitions fully from its assembly phase to a fully-functioning research laboratory.
NASA plans to operate the space station until at least 2020.