Topics: Space Exploration - 2.1 ISS Assembly

2.1 ISS Assembly

Early Assembly Flight Summaries

Zarya control module

Launched Nov. 20, 1998, from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Zarya is providing the early propulsion, steering and communications for the station until Zvezda arrives. Afterward, Zarya is used as a passageway, stowage facility, docking port and fuel tank.

Unity Node

(Shuttle Mission STS-88)

The first wholly U.S. component was launched Dec. 4, 1998, aboard Space Shuttle Endeavour. Unity provides six docking ports, one on each side. With Zarya permanently attached to one of those, the remaining five will serve as attach points , to which all future U.S. modules will be joined.

Logistics Flight

(Shuttle Mission STS-96)

Discovery launched May 27, 1999 and docked with the ISS two days later. Aboard was 2,000 pounds of supplies and logistics to prepare the orbiting facility with equipment that eventually will be used by crews that live aboard for long durations. It was the second shuttle mission dedicated to the assembly and outfitting of the station.

Maintenance/Logistics Flight

(Shuttle Mission STS-101)

Atlantis returned to space on May 19, 2000, following two years of upgrades, including a newly designed, state-of-the-art forward cockpit. It’s cargo included more than 2,000 pounds of supplies and equipment to extend the lifetime of the Zarya module. During the mission, four of six batteries and associated electrical components were swapped to restore the electrical power system to full redundancy. This was the third shuttle flight for station assembly.

Zvezda service module

Zvezda will be the core of the Russian segment when launched in July 2000. The ISS performs an automatic rendezvous and docking with Zvezda, which provides living area, life support, navigation, propulsion and communications through the early assembly phases. It then will assume most of Zarya’s functions.

Logistics Flight

(Shuttle Mission STS-106)

Atlantis returns to the ISS after the arrival of the Zvezda to provide additional supplies and serve as the first opportunity for astronauts and cosmonauts to enter the newest module after it becomes a permanent part of the station. Crewmembers not only will unload supplies from the shuttle, but also from a recently docked Progress vehicle. The mission currently is targeted for launch in September 2000.

Gyroscopes and Framework

(Shuttle Mission STS-92)

Launch of Discovery carrying the first small piece of truss structure and the station’s gyroscopes is scheduled for late September 2000. The Z1 truss (a piece of the girder-like truss), four Control Moment Gyros, and an additional conical docking adapter will make up the cargo for this second major shuttle assembly mission. The framework houses critical electronics and communications equipment, and the gyroscope systems that eventually will replace thrusters to maintain the station's stability. The shuttle's robot arm will be used to attach the framework and docking adapter. Next, astronauts will perform several spacewalks to make final connections.

First Crew

The Expedition One crew heads to the ISS in late October or early November to begin the permanent human presence on the station. astronaut William Shepherd, and cosmonauts Yuri Gidzenko and Sergei Krikalev will travel to the station aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan. Shepherd serves as the Expedition Commander, Gidzenko is the Soyuz Commander and Krikalev the Flight Engineer. They will dock with the station two days after launch and begin a stay of about four months. Their mission will be to activate life support systems and experiments, while continuing stowage and checkout of the new station. They also will assist with the continuing assembly and conduct the first station-based spacewalks from Zvezda’s forward airlock. The first crew will return to Earth on a shuttle, leaving the Soyuz that launched them docked at the station as an emergency "lifeboat" for the next crew.

Solar Power

(Shuttle Mission STS-97)

The focus of Endeavour’s mission is to add the first pair of giant solar arrays and batteries to the station. Scheduled for launch in November 2000, the shuttle will deliver this first of four pairs of solar energy grabbing arrays to dramatically increase the electricity available for use by future components and modules. This pair of solar arrays sets the stage for a major expansion of the station: arrival of the U.S. Destiny laboratory. The shuttle crew will conduct a pair of spacewalks to complete connections of the solar arrays.

U.S. Destiny Laboratory

(Shuttle Mission STS-98)

Atlantis’ flight to the ISS is set for January 2001, to deliver the first scientific research laboratory. The U.S. Destiny laboratory is the centerpiece of future research activity on the International Space Station. Astronauts will use the shuttle’s robot arm to maneuver the new laboratory into position on the station. The installation will be completed during three spacewalks to finish the installation.

Lab Outfitting/Crew Exchange Flight

(Shuttle Mission STS-102)

Discovery’s launch in February 2001 will see the orbiter dock with the station carrying interior supplies and equipment racks housed in a reusable Italian-built logistics module named Leonardo. The mission will highlight the first exchange of crews on the ISS with the Expedition One crew being replaced by the Expedition Two crew of Yury Usachev, Susan Helms and Jim Voss.

Canadian Robot Arm

(Shuttle Mission STS-100)

Endeavour heads to the ISS again in April 2001 carrying Canada’s Space Station Remote Manipulator System (SSRMS) and the second of three reusable multi-purpose logistics modules supplied by Italy named Rafaello. The new station arm will be attached during the mission while the MPLM is attached to the station, unloaded and then returned to Earth. Rafaello will hold equipment to finish the interior construction of the Destiny laboratory. The Canadian robotic arm will assist with most future assembly activities.

Spacewalking Airlock

(Shuttle mission STS-104)

Atlantis will launch in May 2001 to deliver the joint airlock to the International Space Station, which will enable station-based extravehicular activity (EVA) using both U.S. and Russian spacesuits. The addition of the airlock signals the completion of the early phase of station assembly in orbit, meaning the orbiting station has taken on a degree of self-sufficiency and capabilities for full-fledged research in the attached laboratory module. The final phase of assembly will continue into 2005 when the crew size will expand to seven. Other elements that will be added to complete assembly are the Japanese Laboratory, Kibo (meaning Hope); the European Attached Pressurized Module; a Centrifuge; and a crew habitation module.

ISS Assembly complete: 2005

Wingspan - 365 feet, 108 meters

Length - 262 feet, 80 meters

Mass - 1 million pounds, 454,000 kilograms

Crew size - up to 7

Laboratories - 6


2.1 ISS Assembly
Zvezda service module attached. Zvezda was the core of the Russian segment when launched in July 2000. Zvezda provided living area, life support, navigation, propulsion and communications through the early assembly phases.