This week in 1999, the STS-96 crew aboard space shuttle Discovery became the first to dock with the International Space Station. Using the Integrated Cargo Carrier, Discovery delivered the Russian cargo crane, STRELA; the SPACEHAB Oceaneering Space System Box; and the American crane, ORU Transfer Device, to the space station. STS-96 was the Space Shuttle Program’s second ISS mission. The first, STS-88, delivered the first American module, Unity, in December 1998. In total, 34 shuttle missions were flown during construction of the space station.
The International Space Station serves as the world’s leading laboratory where researchers conduct cutting-edge research and technology development that will enable human and robotic exploration of destinations beyond low-Earth orbit, including asteroids and Mars. NASA Marshall Space Flight Center’s Payload Operations and Integrations Center serves as the agency’s command center for all science operations on the space station. The NASA History Program documents and preserves NASA’s remarkable history through a variety of products — photos, press kits, press releases, mission transcripts and administrators’ speeches. For more pictures like this one and to connect to NASA’s history, visit the History Program’s web page.