From The Archives: U.S., Russian Modules Linked To Begin Station

The International Space Station was born on December 6, 1998, when the U.S. Unity module was deployed from space shuttle Endeavour and mated with Russia’s Zarya module. 

“We have these two huge pieces of hardware, one built in the U.S., one built in Russia, using computers that have never talked to each other and software that’s only been tested in models,” said U.S. Marine Col. Robert Cabana, Endeavour’s commander.  “And when we put the whole thing together it worked.” 

The mating of the two modules took a full orbit of Earth to achieve and was completed 160 miles over China, veteran space editor Craig Covault noted in detailed account in Aviation Week’s Dec. 14 edition. 

The space station began hosting crews in November 2000, and was built out with labs from the U.S., Europe and Japan. 

The U.S. has committed to operate the space station through 2030, and Russia says it will participate until at least 2028 despite a dramatic decline in relations between the two nations.

Read the full article on page 22-23 of the Dec. 14, 1998 issue of Aviation Week & Space Technology.


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