20 years ago: 1st ISS module launched

(20 Nov 2018) Today, on 20 November the International Space Station (ISS) is celebrating its 20th anniversary. Work on the ISS begun as early as 1993-1994, and it achieved orbit in 1998 with the successful launch of the first module, Functional Cargo Block (FGB) Zarya ("Sunrise").

On 20 November 1998, the Proton-K launch vehicle carrying the first ISS module was launched from the Baikonur launch site. After 10 minutes FGB Zarya was put into orbit. Tests performed after the module injection into a near-earth orbit showed a normal functionality of its main systems.

FGB Zarya is a 20-ton pressurised module built at the Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center. Altogether, more than 200 Russian enterprises participated in development of the Zarya module. RSC Energia was responsible for development of Zarya onboard hardware which solved the task of module control within the station.

Two weeks after the successful launch the first U.S. module Unity was mated to Zarya a flight of the U.S. space shuttle Endeavour. During three spacewalks, the second Station module was connected to Zarya power supply and communication systems, and its external equipment was mounted. Until the summer of 2000 Zarya performed the functions of the station power generation, as well as attitude and temperature control. After docking of the Zvezda module on 26 July 2000 the functions of the ISS core module were moved from Zarya to a new station component. The function of the Zarya module as a propellant depot and storage remains unchanged.

Reference: Khrunichev PR