Zarya and Unity united
6 December 1998The first two components of the International Space Station (ISS) were successfully joined together early on Monday morning, in one of the most ambitious manoeuvres astronauts have ever undertaken.
The manoeuvre took place at 03:00 Central European Time (21:00 EST), 7 December. Endeavour first had to catch the Russian element Zarya with its new robot arm, and then lock it into position with the Unity module held in the Shuttle's cargo bay.
In the coming days, the astronauts will perform three spacewalks to make power, data and utility connections between the two modules. Much of this activity is shown live on NASA TV (see links).
Unity, launched with Space Shuttle Endeavour on Friday 4 December, is a six-sided connecting module and passageway.
The Russian-built Zarya module, launched on 20 November, is the foundation-stone to which subsequent modules will be coupled. During the initial station construction phase, Zarya will supply electrical power, maintain the station in the correct altitude and attitude and have the capability for communications with the ground control centres.
For more news and information visit the International Space Station home pages.