U.S. space station module moves to launch pad
October 27, 1998
(CNN) -- The first U.S.-built component of the International Space Station (ISS), the "Unity" connecting module, was moved to the launch pad Monday to be loaded onto the Space Shuttle Endeavour.
Endeavour is scheduled to launch December 3 from Kennedy Space Center with an international six-person crew that will carry Unity to a rendezvous and attachment with Russia's Zarya control module.
Zarya is targeted to launch on a Russian Proton rocket November 20 from Baikonur, Kazakstan. Once mated, the Russian and U.S. components will make up the first stage of the International Space Station.
NASA will follow in December with the launch of the second part, an American-built passageway. The third part -- Russia's still unfinished service module -- is to be launched from Kazakhstan in July 1999.
The ISS, billed as the most ambitious space program in history, will replace the world's only orbital laboratory, Russia's aging Mir station, which has been in service since 1986.
NASA says the ISS -- the largest international civil science and technology project ever undertaken, involving 16 nations -- marks the beginning of a new era in human space flight.
"Unity represents the first new human spacecraft to go to a Kennedy launch pad since the first Space Shuttle launch 17 years ago," said Steve Francois, director of space station and shuttle payloads at Kennedy.
Unity is a six-sided connecting module to which all future U.S. station modules will attach. Unity will serve as a habitable passageway to various parts of the station. Attached to Unity's forward and aft berthing ports for launch are two conical mating adapters, one to serve as a permanent connection to the Russian station segment and another that will serve as a shuttle docking port.
More than a half-dozen major station components are now in the Space Station Processing Facility at Kennedy, and by the end of the year more than 500,000 pounds of U.S. and international station equipment will have been completed.
Built by the Boeing Co. for NASA, construction of the 25,000-pound Unity began in 1994 in a manufacturing facility at the Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Alabama.
Because it is a station hub, more than six miles of electrical wiring, 216 lines that will carry fluids and gases and 50,000 mechanical items have been installed in Unity.
Sunday 1:30pm - 2:00pm ET (10:30am - 11:00am PT)
Saturday 1:30pm - 2:00pm ET (10:30am - 11:00am PT)
Back to the top
© 2000 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.