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June 26, 2000

Debra Rahn
Headquarters, Washington, DC
(Phone: 202/358-1638)

Eileen Hawley
Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX
(Phone: 281/483-5111)

Release: H00-101

Next Space Station Component Presses Toward July Launch Date

Following a General Designer's Review meeting in Moscow today, NASA and the Russian Aviation and Space Agency announced that plans remain on track for the launch of the Zvezda service module on July 12 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The addition of this module sets the stage for the launch of other ISS components undergoing final testing at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The Zvezda launch will follow the launch of a second modified Russian Proton rocket on July 5 carrying a Russian military communications satellite to orbit.

A definitive liftoff time will be known closer to the launch date following detailed trajectory analysis by Russian experts. This analysis will be based on optimum lighting conditions for docking to the ISS while the two spacecraft are over Russian ground communications stations.

Following joint meetings in Moscow, including a General Designer's Review and a Joint Program Review, it was agreed that Zvezda (Russian word for Star) - the early living quarters for crews aboard the Station - is ready to begin final preparations for launch on a Proton rocket fitted with modified second and third-stage engines, which have been in redesign and testing for the last five years.

The 42,000-pound Zvezda is 43 feet long (13 meters) and has a solar array wingspan of 97.5 feet (30 meters). It provides the early living quarters for astronauts and cosmonauts and contains the life support system; electrical power distribution; data processing system; flight control system; and propulsion. The module contains three pressurized compartments and four docking ports. While many of these systems will be supplemented or replaced by later U.S. Station components, Zvezda always will remain the structural and functional center of the Russian segment of the International Space Station.

Following Zvezda's launch and 14 days of free flight, the ISS will rendezvous and dock with its newest module using an automatic docking system, propellant and thrusters in the Zarya control module.

The next several components of the ISS are on track to meet their launch dates and include a small truss segment that will serve as the support structure for other Station hardware; the first set of solar arrays; the United States Destiny laboratory; the Canadian built space station robot arm and several truss segments that will serve as the Station's backbone for external hardware, experiments and solar arrays.


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