Spaceflight Now: Space Station


July 26, 2000 -- Follow the flight of the Zvezda module as it heads for a rendezvous and docking with the international space station. Reload this page for the very latest on the mission.


The international space station gently docked with the new Zvezda command module today as the two spacecraft sailed high above Kazakstan, ending two years of delays and setting the stage for arrival of the lab's first permanent crew in November. Read our full story.

0055 GMT (8:55 p.m. EDT)

Russian flight controllers report all activities appear to be going according to plan as the Zvezda service module becomes firmly connected to the international space station.

Zvezda will serve as a new home in space, acting as the initial crew living quarters aboard the international space station. The first long-duration crew of ISS, the Expedition One crew, are due to blast off in late October. The three-man team will be led by NASA astronaut Bill Shepherd.

"You got a lot of happy astronauts and cosmonauts tonight," Shepherd just said from Mission Control-Houston. Watch a QuickTime video clip of his comments.

0046 GMT (8:46 p.m. EDT)

With the initial mechanical connection complete, the modules will come together with a perfect seal by driving hooks and latches closed.

0045 GMT (8:45 p.m. EDT)

Russian flight controllers confirm Zvezda has been captured by the Zarya module's docking port. Live television now shows the modules joined in space.

0044:50 GMT (8:44:50 p.m. EDT)

CONTACT! The Zvezda service module is now part of the international space station having connected in Earth orbit.

0043 GMT (8:43 p.m. EDT)

The closing rate between the two craft has steadily dropped as planned, now about a tenth-of-a-meter per second.

0042 GMT (8:42 p.m. EDT)

Approximately two minutes remaining until the automatic docking of Zvezda and the international space station. Less than 40 meters the distance between the two, closing at a rate of .6 meters per second.

0040 GMT (8:40 p.m. EDT)

Now 100 meters separating the international space station and Zvezda, closing at a rate of .9 meters per second.

0038 GMT (8:38 p.m. EDT)

The international space station, currently comprised of the Russian Zarya module and American Unity, has resumed its approach to Zvezda for docking in about six minutes. The distance between the craft is 190 meters, closing at a rate less than one-meter per second.

0036 GMT (8:36 p.m. EDT)

Zvezda and the international space station have moved in range of Russian ground stations. Both are in a stationkeeping position about 200 meters apart. Flight controllers are analyzing data from the two spacecraft to ensure there are no problems preventing the automatic docking sequence from continuing.

0030 GMT (8:30 p.m. EDT)

Russian flight controllers in the Mission Control Center in Korolev outside Moscow are now reporting on station. They are prepared to review data from Zvezda and the international space station when communications is restored in a couple of minutes. If the controllers see a problem, the automatic docking sequence being carried out by the Zarya module of ISS could be halted.

0025 GMT (8:25 p.m. EDT)

Tonight's high-flying, computer-controlled docking of Zvezda and the international space station is less than 20 minutes away. The Russians have had great success with their automatic docking system, guiding unmanned cargo supply craft to space stations. However, during assembly of the Mir space station, the first three modules were forced to abort docking attempts due to glitches. All ultimately were connected on second tries, though.

0015 GMT (8:15 p.m. EDT)

About 20 minutes away from restoring communications with the space station and Zvezda via Russian ground stations. Tonight's docking, still expected at 8:44:30 p.m. EDT, will occur in orbital daylight, high above Kazakhstan and within range of ground communications sites. The station's first module, the Russian-made Zarya, is the active vehicle in the rendezvous and docking, controlling the physical linkup to Zvezda.

TUESDAY, JULY 25, 2000
2355 GMT (7:55 p.m. EDT)

The free-flying Zvezda module and the International Space Station's Zarya module are in the proper attitude, solar arrays on both craft are feathered and the terminal docking sequence has started for tonight's link up, which is now less than an hour away. Officials say things are going well for the automatic docking at 8:44:30 p.m. EDT, though it could happen as much as a minute early.

The craft are currently out of communications range with ground controllers. Aquisition of signal through Russian ground stations is expected at 8:36 p.m. EDT, with live TV from black and white video cameras on both Zarya and Zvezda possible at that time.

0401 GMT (12:01 a.m. EDT)

NASA and Russian space officials report the Zvezda service module is on target for tonight's planned docking with the international space station. The module has completed its in-orbit checkout and maneuvers in preparation for the 8:44:30 p.m. EDT link up.

Read our full story explaining how the docking will occur.

Zvezda's final three rendezvous and correction burns took place Friday and Saturday night, placing the module in a 224 by 180 mile orbit (361 by 290 km). Rendezvous burn 3 occurred at 9:44 p.m. Friday (43 seconds). Rendezvous burn 4 took place at 10:20 p.m. (8 seconds). Combined, the two burns raised the overall orbit of Zvezda by 25 miles. The last jet firing, a 9-second correction burn, raised the perigee, placing the module in the desired orbit for tonight's docking.

We will provide complete coverage with running updates on this page tonight and a live QuickTime streaming video broadcast starting at 8 p.m. EDT (0000 GMT).

FRIDAY, JULY 21, 2000

From today's ISS status report from NASA:

With its days flying alone in orbit coming to an end, the Zvezda service module nears completion of systems checkouts in preparation for docking to the International Space Station. The linkup remains scheduled for 8:53 p.m. Eastern Time next Tuesday as the two spacecraft fly high above the Russian Federation within the coverage area of ground communication stations.

Another in a series of rendezvous maneuvers was completed late Wednesday when Russian flight controllers sent commands to Zvezda's computers to fire its engines for 15 seconds, raising the perigee, or low end of its orbit, by 13 miles (21 kilometers). The correction burn occurred at 10:47 p.m. EDT Wednesday and changed the velocity by 10 miles per hour (4.4 meters per second), placing the service module in a 224 by 180 mile orbit (361 by 290 km).

The next two rendezvous burns for Zvezda are scheduled tonight about 30 minutes apart at 9:22 and 9:54 p.m. Eastern. The first will raise both sides of the orbit to 234 by 185 miles and the second will raise the low end by another 23 miles, to 208 statute miles.

Also tonight a docking test will be performed that includes conducting a mechanical capture test of Zvezda's docking mechanism. This test will verify the operation of the software and mechanical systems associated with docking. It also will include positioning the module in the proper docking position with the solar arrays positioned parallel to the module. This position minimizes perturbations to the arrays at the time of docking.

At present, one additional Zvezda orbit correction burn is scheduled for Sunday evening, Eastern Time. After that, the rendezvous is managed by the Zarya control module, which becomes the active vehicle, performing up to three rendezvous and correction maneuvers en route to the final approach and docking Tuesday night.

Yesterday, controllers tested the camera on Zvezda that will view the ISS on approach. They also reviewed telemetry data from Zvezda's five batteries. Each battery captures energy from the module's solar arrays for use by onboard electronic equipment.

As of Noon EDT Friday, Zvezda had completed 151 orbits of the Earth since its launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome July 12.

Read our earlier Mission Status Center coverage.

Flight data file
Vehicle: Proton
Payload: Zvezda
Launch date: July 12, 2000
Launch time: 0456 GMT (12:56 a.m. EDT)
Launch site: Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan
Docking date: July 26, 2000
Docking time: 0044 GMT (8:44 p.m. EDT on 25th)

Pre-launch briefing
Launch preview - The international space station's future riding on Zvezda.

Sky high stakes - A look at the contingency plans if things go wrong with Zvezda's launch.

Marvel of complexity - Overview of the Russian-made Zvezda service module.

A rocky road to launch - Zvezda and the international space station have been delayed many times.

Proton vehicle data - Overview of the Russian rocket that will launch Zvezda into space.

Launch timeline - Chart with times and descriptions of events to occur during the launch.

Two weeks to docking - Description of events leading up to Zvezda's docking to station.

Shuttle to outfit station - A look ahead to September's mission of space shuttle Atlantis.

Video vault
Bill Shepherd, commander of the first expedition crew to the international space station, comments on the docking of Zvezda.
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A Russian Proton rocket lifts off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan with the Zvezda service module.
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NASA animation shows the Zvezda module launching into space, deploying antennas and solar arrays and conducting orbit raising maneuvers.
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The Zvezda service module joins the infant International Space Station as seen in NASA animation of the docking with Zarya.
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One of Zvezda's power-generating solar arrays is unfurled in a factory test as the module is constructed.
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Take a look around inside the Zvezda service module that will be initial crew living quarters aboard the International Space Station.
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Russian technicians move the Proton rocket's nose cone around Zvezda in the factory to ensure to two will fit together properly.
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