Zvezda Docks with International Space Station
The Russian-built Zvezda service module successfully docked
with the International Space Station Tuesday evening, completing a key
step in the assembly of the orbiting facility.
Zvezda made contact with the Zarya module of the ISS at 8:45
pm EDT Tuesday evening (0045 UT Wednesday). No major problems were
reported with the automated docking, which took place while the
spacecraft passed over Kazakhstan, in range of Russian ground
"We have contact confirmed, capture is confirmed," said NASA
spokesperson Kyle Herring, covering the docking from the Russian
mission control center in Korolev, outside of Moscow. "We have a
successful capture of the Zvezda as it becomes a permanent member of
the International Space Station."
During the docking Zvezda served as the passive target, as the
ISS — composed of the Zarya and Unity modules — maneuvered towards
Zvezda. During the final approach the ISS approached Zvezda at the
rate of just 0.2 meters per second (0.45 mph) during the final
approach to the module.
Minutes after docking hooks and latches on both modules locked
into place to keep Zarya and Zvezda securely attached to one another.
Zvezda's solar panels, which had been locked into an edge-on position
during the docking to prevent any damage from Zarya's thrusters, were
unlocked and allowed to track the Sun again to maintain power to the
module. The passageway between the two modules was also scheduled to
After several days of work checking out the systems on Zvezda,
controllers will begin transferring attitude control and other systems
from Zarya to Zvezda on Sunday. Those computers on Zvezda, supplied
by the European Space Agency, will be used to control the station
until other computer systems are installed on later assembly flights.
The docking is a key milestone for the station, as the
addition of the Zvezda module allows the station to be inhabited for
months at a time by three-person crews. The first such crew,
Expedition One, is scheduled for launch on a Soyuz from Baikonur,
Kazakhstan in late October. The crew includes American astronaut
William Shepard, the mission commander, and Russian cosmonauts Yuri
Gidzenko and Sergei Krikalev. They will remain on ISS until February
of next year, when they are relieved by the next crew.
The next step in the ISS assembly process will be the launch
of a Progress cargo spacecraft to the station. The spacecraft,
scheduled to be launched on a Soyuz from Baikonur on August 6, will
dock with the station two days later and provide supplies for the crew
as well as propellant to reboost the station's orbit.
That will be followed by shuttle mission STS-106, scheduled
for launch September 8. The crew of that mission will work to outfit
Zvezda and the rest of the station for its first long-duration crew. A
month later STS-92 will install a truss structure that will serve as
the early framework for what will eventually become a large array of
About a month after the Expedition One crew arrives, shuttle
mission STS-97 will install a Photovoltaic Module on the truss
structure with the first set of solar panels. That will be followed in
early 2001 with the launch of the Destiny lab module on mission STS-
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