The first element, the Zarya control module, was launched from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Nov. 20, 1998.
In December 1998, the crew of Space Shuttle Mission STS-88 began construction of the International Space Station, joining the U.S.-built Unity node to the Russian-built Zarya module.
The 44,000-pound Zarya, which means sunrise, provided the stations initial propulsion and power during the early phases of the ISS construction. Zarya, also known as the Functional Cargo Block and goes by the Russian acronym FGB, contains an attitude control system and allowed the Russian Service Module, Progress and Soyuz spacecraft to dock with it. In its current role, the Zarya module is used primarily for its storage capacity and external fuel tanks.
Mike Wood, who led Boeing's efforts on the FGB and now works on the Shuttle's replacement called the Crew Exploration Vehicle, remembers a very capable team that helped with the technical and business disciplines that helped make the first element launch a reality. Wood says he enjoyed getting to know our Russian colleagues and still stays in touch with many of them.
"Our Russian subcontractor, Khrunichev, did an outstanding job of delivering on time and on cost," he said. Khrunichev manufactured Zarya which was outfitted with U.S. and Boeing provided computing and electrical power hardware.
"The Russians apply very solid engineering practices and tend to develop very robust spacecraft," added Wood. "I am not surprised at how trouble free the FGB has been in the past 7 years and I have no doubt it will perform well over the life of the ISS."
The Station symbolizes an international partnership. The 15 nations who work together have made the ISS the longest living orbital outpost to date. ISS assembly was completed in 2011. Boeing is the prime contractor for the ISS.
For detailed information about ISS missions, link to http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/.