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The project history

The work on the International Space Station started in 1993.

Russia, having almost 25 years of experience in the operation of space stations Salyut and Mir, an invaluable experience in long-duration missions, studies, and a well-developed space infrastructure (multifunctional Mir space station, manned transportation and unmanned logistics vehicles of Soyuz and Progress type), and finding itself, after the events of 1991, in a deep economic crisis, considered the then difficult situation around space station Freedom that was being developed in USA, and put forward a proposal to join the efforts of Russia and USA in the implementation of space programs.

On March 15, 1993, RSA Director General Yu.N. Koptev and NPO Energia Designer General Yu.P. Semenov presented to NASA Administrator D. Goldin a proposal to create an International Space Station.

On September 2, 1993, the Chairman of the Russian Federation Governement V.S. Chernomyrdin and US Vice-president A. Gore signed a Joint Declaration on Cooperation in Space, which, among other things, envisaged creating a joint space station. It was followed up with a Detailed Work Plan for the International Space Station developed by RSA and NASA and signed by them on November 1, 1993. This opened the way for signing in June 1994 a contract between RSA and NASA on Deliveries and Services for Mir and International Space Station.

Taking into account several modifications, the joint meetings between Russian and US sides in 1994 have resulted in the following ISS configuration and list of participants:

  • Besides Russia and US, the participants in the development of the space station would include Canada, Japan and the nations of the European Community;
  • The space station would consist of 2 integrated segments (Russian and US segments) and would be incrementally assembled in orbit out of individual modules.

The prime contractor for the Russian segment and its integration with the US segment is S.P.Korolev RSC Energia, while the prime contractor for the US orbital segment is Boeing.

Technical coordination of work on the ISS Russian segment and its integration with the US segment is carried out by the Council of Chief Designers headed by S.P. Korolev RSC Energia's President and General Designer , a member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Yu.P. Semenov (1993-2005), S.P. Korolev RSC Energia's President and General Designer N.N. Sevastyanov (2005-2007), S.P. Korolev RSC Energia's President and General Designer a corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, V.A. Lopota (2007-2014), S.P. Korolev RSC Energia's General Designer, Full member of the Russian Academy of Sciences V.P. Legostaev (2014–2015), S.P. Korolev RSC Energia's General Designer, First Deputy General Director, Full member of the Russian Academy of Sciences E.A. Mikrin (from 2015). Pre-launch processing and launch of the ISS Russian segment elements are managed by a State Commission for conducting flight tests of manned space complexes.

Participants in the manufacturing of the Russian segment elements include:  Experimental Machine-building Plant of the S.P. Korolev RSC Energia, and Khrunichev Space Center's rocket and space plant, as well as GNP RKTs TsSKB Progress, General Machine-building Design Bureau, RNII for space instrumentation, NII for precision instruments, RGNII of Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center, Russian Academy of Sciences, Agat organization, etc. (about 200 organizations altogether).

The initial phase of construction calls for creating a functionally complete space station structure consisting of a limited number of modules. The first module in orbit was the Functional and Cargo Module (known by its Russian acronym as FGB) Zarya built in Russia and launched on a Proton launch vehicle. The second module was US module NODE-1, delivered on-board a Shuttle Orbiter and berthed to FGB. The third module in orbit was the Russian Service Module Zvezda - the key component of the ISS which provide the functions of the space station control, crew life support, space station attitude control and orbital reboost. US module Destiny was the forth one. After that, the elements of the Russian and US segments are delivered concurrently