NASA and the Russian Aviation and Space Agency (Rosaviakosmos) announced today that the next component of the International Space Station (ISS) ñ the Zvezda service module ñ is scheduled to be launched between 8 and 14 July from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The International Space Station Partners are expected to formally approve the timing of the Zvezda launch in accordance with the Space Station Control Board process within the next several weeks.

The actual date will be determined in the weeks prior to launch, based on optimum conditions for docking with the ISS when the station is over Russian ground communications stations.

Following a Joint Programme Review and a General Designersí Review in Moscow this week, it has been agreed that Zvezda (Russian for star) will be launched by a Proton rocket with the second and third stage engines modified to increase engine reliability.

Zvezda will provide the early living quarters for ISS crew, together with the life support, electrical power distribution, data management, flight control, and propulsion systems for the ISS.

The European Space Agency (ESA), together with a European industrial consortium headed by DaimlerChrysler (D) and including Belgian, Dutch and French partners, is responsible for the design, development and delivery of the core data management system, which provides Zvezdaís main computer.

ESA also has a contract with Rosaviakosmos and RSC-Energia for performing system and interface integration tasks required for docking with Zvezda by ESAís Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV), which will be used for ISS re-boost and logistics support missions from 2003 onwards. Through its ATV industrial consortium led by Aerospatiale Matra Lanceurs (F), ESA is also procuring some Russian hardware and software for use with the ATV.

On the scientific side, ESA has also concluded contracts with Rosaviakosmos and RSC-Energia for the conduct of scientific experiments on Zvezda, including the Global Timing System (GTS) and a radiobiology experiment (called Matroshka) to monitor and analyse radiation doses in ISS crew. Cooperation on further scientific experiments to be conducted on the Russian segment of the ISS is continuing with Rosaviakosmos and Russiaís IBMP (Institute for Biomedical Research).

For further information on the International Space Station, see: