From imagination to reality

On 20 November 1998, the first element of ISS was launched from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The Functional Cargo Bloc (FGB) or control module was named Zarya (meaning "Dawn"). This module was intended to provide electrical power, computer commands and attitude control to the early space station, to keep it in its operational orbit and to host the docking of the Zvezda (meaning "Star") Service Module which would allow permanent habitation of the station. The module would then serve as a fuel depot and storage facility as the station grew in size and would offer

The US laboratory module (Destiny) for ISS is shown under construction in the fall of 1997.

additional docking ports for visiting Russian spacecraft. On 4 December 1998, the American Shuttle Endeavour lifted off from KSC in Florida on the STS-88 mission, to deliver the first American element to the station, which was called Unity. Over the next four years, the combination of Russian and US assembly and supply missions gradually expanded the station towards its assembly complete target.3

Table 6. ISS main element launches.

Date

Element

1998.20.11

Zarya (Russian) control module

1998.04.12

Unity (US) Node 2/Pressurised Mating Adapter 1 and 2

2000.12.07

Zvezda (Russian) service module

2000.11.10

Integrated Truss Structure Z1; PMA-3

2000.30.11

ITS P6 2001.07.02 Destiny (US) laboratory module

2001.12.07

Quest (US) airlock

2001.15.09

Pirs (Russian, meaning "Pier") docking compartment

2002.08.04

Central truss segment (S0)

2002.07.10

ITS S1

2002.24.11

ITS P1

Destiny laboratory is shown attached to the ISS in February 2001. With the arrival of the lab, an expanded programme of science could be delivered and operated by the permanent crew of three astronauts and cosmonauts.

Unfortunately the loss of Columbia on 1 February 2003 grounded the Shuttle fleet and seriously affected the construction and expansion of the space station. The July 2005 Return-to-Flight mission of STS-114 (a logistics flight) was a success, but further tile damage to the Shuttle delayed the next mission well into 2006 and pushed any further assembly flights towards the end of the year. The loss of Columbia also affected the supply of logistics to the station, and as a result the two-person resident crews of ISS-7 through ISS-12 were more like caretakers than fully-operational science crews.4

Table 7. ISS resident crews (2000-2006).

Expedition

Crew

Launched

Landed

Duration (D:H:M:S)

One

Shepherd-Gidzenko-Krikalev

2000.31.10

2001.21.03

140:23:38:55

Two

Usachev-Voss-Helms

2001.08.03

2001.22.08

167:06:40:49

Three

Culbertson-Dezhurov-Tyurin

2001.10.08

2001.17.12

128:20:44:56

Four

Onufrienko-Walz-Bursch

2001.05.12

2002.19.06

195:19:38:12

Five

Korzun-Treshchev-Whitson

2002.05.06

2002.07.12

184:22:14:23

Six

Bowersox-Pettit-Budarin

2002.23.11

2003.03.05

161:01:14:38

Seven

Malenchenko-Lu

2003.26.04

2003.27.10

184:22:46:09

Eight

Foale-Kaleri

2003.18.10

2004.30.04

194:18:33:43

Nine

Padalka-Fincke

2004.19.04

2004.24.10

187:21:16:09

Ten

Sharipov-Chiao

2004.14.10

2005.24.04

192:19:00:59

Eleven

Krikalev-Phillips

2005.14.04

2005.10.10

179:23:00:00

Twelve

McArthur-Tokarev

2005.03.10

2006.08.04

189:19:53:00

Thirteen

Vinogradov-Williams

2006.29.04

2006.24.09

178 days (planned)

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