On 20 November 1998, a Russian Proton rocket lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome for a historic mission: It was carrying the first module of the International Space Station ISS, named Zarya (Russian for 'dawn'). This cargo and control module, which weighs about 20 tonnes and is almost 13 meters long, provides electrical power, propulsion, flight path guidance and storage space. The launch of the module... heralded a new era in space exploration, as, for the first time ever, lasting cooperation in space was achieved between Russia, the US, Europe, Canada and Japan. Over the next ten years, many other modules were brought into orbit, and ISS developed into the largest human outpost in space. Since that time, the building blocks, transported by Russian launch vehicles or the US Space Shuttle, have expanded the ISS to the size of a soccer pitch and a current total mass of about 300 tons.