posted 08-14-2007 09:14 AM
At 10:17 a.m. CDT (1517 CDT) on August 14, Zarya will mark its 50,000th orbit. Launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan by a Russian Proton rocket on November 20, 1998, Zarya has traveled about 1.3 billion miles (2.3 billion km).
The Zarya functional cargo block (FGB) was the first element of the International Space Station, built in Russia under a U.S. contract. During the early stages of ISS assembly, the FGB was self-contained, providing power, communications, and attitude control functions. The FGB module is now used primarily for storage and propulsion.
Photo caption: Backdropped against the darkness of space, Zarya, approaches the out-of-frame space shuttle Endeavour and the U.S.-built Node 1 on December 6, 1998.