History of the ISS - A Brief Timeline

International Space Station

The first two modules of the International Space Station were launched into space in November-December 1998 and put together while in orbit. Other modules arrived in the months that followed. Here are some interesting moments in the history of the International Space Station.

November 20, 1998: The first piece of the ISS, the Zarya control module, is launched into space atop a Russian Proton Rocket.

December 4, 1998: Space Shuttle Endeavour brings the second piece of the ISS into space: the Unity Node. The shuttle crew attach it to Zarya already in orbit.

July 12, 2000: The third major component, the Zvezda service module is brought into space by a Russian Proton rocket and attached to the growing space station.

October 30, 2000: Expedition 1, the first ISS crew arrives for their six-month stay aboard the station.

February 7, 2001: Space Shuttle Atlantis brings the Destiny Laboratory module to the station.

March 8, 2001: The Expedition 2 crew arrives, relieving Expedition 1.

April 19, 2001: The Canadarm 2 is installed.

July 12, 2001: The Joint Airlock is installed, providing a place from which both Russian and US spacewalks can take place.

August 2001: The Expedition 3 crew arrives, replacing Expedition 2.

October 7, 2002: Space shuttle Atlantic brings the 1st starboard truss segment. The building of the Space Station’s spine has begun!

November 3, 2002: Space shuttle Endeavour delivers the first port truss segment and the P6 solar array wings are deployed, providing more power to the growing station.

October 23, 2007: The Harmony Node 2 is attached to the forward end of the Destiny Lab.

February 7, 2008: The European Space Agency’s Columbus Lab is installed.

March 11, 2008: The first pressurized component of the Japanese Kubo Lab is installed.

May 31, 2008: The pressurized module and robotic arm of the Japanese Kubo Lab are installed.

March 15, 2009: The final pair of solar array wings is attached.

February 8, 2010: Space Shuttle Endeavour brings Node, Tranquillity.

February 25, 2011: Space Shuttle Discovery makes its last flight to the ISS and delivers a bus-sized storage room and a humanoid robot called Robonaut 2, intended to help with EVA activity. The space station is now officially complete.

The photo on this page shows the International Space Station under construction. Looking down on the truss and solar array wings from above, you can see what a complicated piece of machinery this is. My hat goes off to the 100,000 people who participated in the design, development, and building of it.