The first part of the International Space Station launched into orbit was the Russian Zarya module. When it was connected to the U.S. Unity module a few days later, the ISS was born.

Zarya is the Russian word for "dawn" or "sunrise". The name was chosen to signify the dawn of a new age of international space cooperation.

When the ISS passes from the dark side of the Earth to face the "rising" sun, which end faces the sunrise? Has Zarya ever been the end that faces the sunrise first, thus fulfilling its name?

  • Exclude the orbits before it became part of the station.
  • Consider only the actual station; ignore visiting vehicles (e.g. Soyuz, Shuttle, Progress).
  • The current configuration of the station no longer applies to the question, as Zarya is now in the middle of the station, with Zvezda at the end.
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    $\begingroup$ Actually, "zarya" can mean both "dawn" and "dusk". The word means a bright band on the horizon before a sunrise or after a sunset, or the time when such a band is present. Though it is also used metaphorically like English "dawn", in expressions like "dawn of a new age". $\endgroup$
    – Litho
    May 1, 2020 at 9:48
  • $\begingroup$ there's some interesting stuff here and here $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    May 1, 2020 at 11:05
  • $\begingroup$ This word is often used as "the beginning of a new era", "the beginning of a new page in history." For example Krasnaya Zarya - en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Dawn_(disambiguation) $\endgroup$
    – A. Rumlin
    May 1, 2020 at 16:27
  • $\begingroup$ So, just to ensure I am bounding the question properly, the time span in play is only that era starting in December 1998 when the shuttle released the proto-ISS consisting of the FGB+Node 1 and ending when the Service Module docked to the FGB in July 2000 ? $\endgroup$ May 9, 2020 at 19:17
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @OrganicMarble: Correct. $\endgroup$
    – DrSheldon
    May 9, 2020 at 19:24


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