Monday, December 8, 2008

A 10th birthday that's (literally) out of this world

The International Space Station turned 10 a few days ago.

The first module, the Russian Zarya FCB (for 'Functional Cargo Block'), was launched on November 20th, 1998. (Click the pictures for a larger view.)

The US space shuttle Endeavour launched mission STS-88 on December 4th, 1998, carrying the Unity ISS module.

Between December 7th and 13th, 1998, the two modules were attached to one another, and a series of spacewalks and maintenance jobs were performed.

Since then, multiple additional modules have been attached, and the ISS has grown much larger. Here's a series of pictures over the years. In 1998, after the first two modules were mated:

In December 2000:

In August 2005:

In June 2008:

To celebrate the ISS's 10th birthday,'s The Big Picture has a photographic special, showing many milestones in the space station's development. Click on the link for a visual feast.


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