Want to stay on top of all the space news? Follow @universetoday on TwitterZarya, also known as the Functional Cargo Block or FGB of the International Space Station(ISS), was the first module of the ISS to be launched. The FGB initially provided electrical power, storage, propulsion, and guidance to the ISS, but after the assembly of other modules with more specialized functionality, Zarya is now primarily used for storage. The module is based on the TKS spacecraft designed for the Salyut program. The module was launched on November 20, 1998 using a Proton rocket. Launch took place from Baikonur Cosmodrome. The module was sent into a 400 km high orbit and was designed for a lifetime of at least 15 years.
The module weighs 19,300 kg, is 12.55 m long, and has a maximum width of 4.1 m. It has three docking ports. Attached to the module’s aft section is the Zvezda Service Module and forward is the Pressurized Mating Module. The axial port was used to dock Soyuz or Progress missions until the Rassvet module was permanently docked there. Initially, power was supplied to the module through two 10.67×3.35 m solar panels which supplied six nickel-cadmium batteries. Those batteries could supply an average of 3 kilowatts of power. The batteries were removed so that the P1/S1 radiators could be deployed.
Externally, Zarya has 16 fuel tanks that can hold over 5.4 metric tons of propellant, 24 large steering jets, 12 small steering jets, and two large engines used to reboost the module and make major orbital changes. After Zvezda was docked, these large engines were disabled. Since the engines were no longer needed, the propellant tanks were converted to store additional fuel for Zvezda.
After Zarya reached orbit, the space shuttle Endeavor was launched to attach the Unity Module during mission STS-88. The module was only designed to fly alone for up to eight months, but it had to do so for almost two years because of delays to the Zvezda module. Zarya made its 50,000th orbit at 15:17 UTC on August 14, 2007 during the STS-118 mission.
We have written many articles about Zarya for Universe Today.
Scenes from Space: Best Images from STS-130 (so far…)
Ten Years Of the ISS in Pictures
We’ve also recorded an episode of Astronomy Cast about the space shuttle. Listen here, Episode 127: The US Space Shuttle.