ESA scientists plan to use ISS as an orbital service station for X-ray Telescope
3 December 1998The second element of the International Space Station, the connecting node 'Unity', lifted off flawlessly from Kennedy Space Center on Friday morning at 09.36 hours (CET), by the Space Shuttle (STS-88).Unity, the first US-built element of the International Space Station, is a six-sided connecting module and passageway, built by Boeing. Two more identical such units will be built by European industry. In one of the most ambitious manoeuvres ever undertaken by astronauts, Unity will be connected to the Russian Zarya element launched on 20 November.
Commenting on the successful launch of STS-88, Brian Taylor, Head of ESA's Astrophysics Division, said: "The successful launch of the second Space Station element makes us realise that we are entering a new era of opportunities for research in Space. Science. It will allow us to consider missions which previously were impossible.
I'm not thinking of space astronomy from the Space Station but rather using it to construct and to service large telescopes which will co-orbit with the Space Station, but which will be separate from it for making observations.Think of the ISS as an orbiting motorway service station. Already we are formulating ideas for the next generation of X-ray astronomy telescope called XEUS which can be seen as the successor to XMM which we will launch and operate very soon."