In November 1998 the collaboration between European space agencies, Russia, Canada, Japan and the United States bears the first fruits. Zarja is launched from the Baikonur cosmodrome, the first module - Russian - of the future International Space Station.
A few days later, the US module Unity (Node 1) follows, which engages with Zarja, providing the possibility to add further elements.
Human beings continue their venture in space and the adventure of the ISS has just begun. But how did this come about?
In the early 1990s, Americans managed the leadership by involving space agencies from various continents. The plan is to build a joint space station. The idea is supported at the highest levels and in 1992 the presidents, George H. Bush and Boris N. Yeltsin, officially sealed the desire to explore space together.
The knowledge obtained from the efforts of individual agencies to create their own space station becomes common heritage. The sharing process brings shelved programmes to light and the confrontation opens up new possibilities. The design of the new station is established on the basis of the previously aborted American Freedom, of the MIR-2, which was set aside for the fall of the Soviet regime, and of the Columbus module of the European ESA.
With a few years of delay, in 2011 instead of 2003, the ISS is complete. The end of life of this station is 2024, the date according to which it should achieve all the scientific research objectives that the various agencies have set themselves to.