Next space station component to launch between July 8-14
14 February 2000http://defence-data.com/storypic/iss1.jpg [not image]
Launch of the International Space Station's next component, the Zvezda service module, is scheduled to occur between July 8 and 14 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, NASA and the Russian Aviation and Space Agency have announced.
Following joint meetings in Moscow, including a General Designer's Review and a Joint Program Review, Rosaviakosmos has proposed that Zvezda, be launched on a Proton rocket with second and third stage engines modified to increase reliability.
The 42,000 pound Zvezda not only provides the early living quarters for astronauts and cosmonauts, but also the life support system, electrical power distribution, data processing system, flight control system, and propulsion. While many of these systems will be supplemented or replaced by later U.S. station components, Zvezda always will remain the structural and functional centre of the Russian segment of the International Space Station.
Zvezda has a solar-array wingspan of 97.5 feet tip to tip, and is 43 feet long from end to end. The module contains three pressurised compartments and four docking ports.
Following Zvezda's launch and about 15 days of free flight, the ISS will rendezvous and dock with its newest module.
Launch of Zvezda sets the stage for the launch of other ISS components undergoing final testing at NASA's Kennedy Space Centre in Florida.
These components include a small truss segment that will serve as the support structure for other station hardware; the first set of solar arrays; the United States Destiny laboratory; the Canadian-built space station robot arm; and several truss segments that will serve as the stationыs backbone for external hardware, experiments and solar arrays.