The International Space Station (ISS) received a new module on Thursday when Russia docked its 22-ton Nauka Multipurpose Laboratory Module at 9:29 a.m. ET — the first time in a decade that a new component has been sent to the floating space lab.
Nauka, meaning “science” in Russian,” was launched on July 21 atop a Russian Proton rocket. This rocket also carried the new European Robotic Arm, or ERA, a 16-meter-long two-handed robot that can move freely outside the ISS.
After eight days in free flight, the unmanned 43-meter-long module connected to the port of the Earth-facing Russian segment of the ISS.
Nauka will be a new science facility, port of call and airlock for spacewalks for future operations, along with additional crew quarters, galley and toilet.
The new module will occupy the area vacated by the Pirs docking compartment, with the attached Progress 77 spacecraft that the ISS had called home for the past 20 years until Monday — the crew released it from the ship and sent it into space. in.
Getting Nauka ready for operation will take a long series of maneuvers, including up to 11 spacewalks beginning in early September.
The launch, originally scheduled for 2007, was repeatedly delayed due to technical issues.
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The International Space Station (ISS) received a new module on Thursday when Russia docked its 22-ton Nauka Multipurpose Laboratory Module at 9:29 a.m. ET — the first time in a decade that a new component has been sent to the spacecraft.
The new modular completed the docking process using its autonomous navigation system, along with the help of cosmonaut Oleg Novitsky, who led it into the ISS during its final approach.
“Congratulations, that wasn’t easy docking,” Russian mission control radioed to Novitsky, who was using a remote system from the space station.
Russian crew members on the ISS have taken two spacewalks to connect cables in preparation for Nauka’s arrival.
NASA commentator Rob Navias said the new module will “provide roll control to the International Space Station; it will transfer propellant between the Progress vehicles – the unmanned freighters – that will arrive in the coming months and years; and it will serve as a landing stage for piloted Soyuz and unmanned Progress vehicles.”
Nauka, meaning “science,” was launched on July 21 atop a Russian Proton rocket (pictured), which also carried the new European robotic arm, or ERA, a 16-meter-long two-handed robot that can move freely outside the ISS.
Nauka will be a new science facility, port of call and airlock for spacewalks for future operations, along with additional crew quarters, galley and toilet. Pictured is the module preparing for launch
It will also serve as a docking port for a node module — a multi-shade docking port — which will be launched later this year by the Russians to attach additional vehicles and components to it, as the ever-expanding Russian segment of the International Space Station goes. through,” Navias added.
The Nauka module also serves as a base for the European Robotic Arm, a 36-meter-long manipulator built by the European Space Agency (ESA) to become the first exterior-mounted accessory designed specifically to support the Russian segment of the station. operate .
The module will also provide additional crew accommodation, a new toilet and equipment for regenerating water and oxygen, improving cosmonauts’ living conditions at the station and increasing the safety of the entire ISS crew.
The last time the ISS was upgraded was in 2011, when space shuttle Discovery delivered a bus-sized storage unit known as the Permanent Multipurpose Module (PMM) to the orbiting lab.
PMM is 21 feet long and 15 feet wide, and provided astronauts with more than 2,470 cubic feet of additional storage space.
After eight days in free flight, the unmanned 43-foot-long module was docked on the Earth-facing Russian segment of the ISS
The new module will occupy the space vacated by the Pirs docking compartment (pictured), with the attached Progress 77 spacecraft that the ISS had called home for the past 20 years until Monday when it was released from the ship and launched into space. sent
Nauka now joins four other pressurized modules to form the Russian segment of the International Space Station. In addition to the Zvezda service module and Zarya FGB, the segment also has two mini-research modules, Poisk and Rassvet. Nauka is Russia’s largest contributor (by size) to the station and the country’s first new addition since 2010. gathering area reports.
Together with the US operating segment, the space station now has a total of 14 pressure modules.
The International Space Station is currently operated by NASA astronauts Mark Vande Hei, Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur; Oleg Novitsky and Pyotr Dubrov of the Russian space company Roscosmos; Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Akihiko Hoshide and European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet.
In 1998, Russia launched the station’s first module, Zarya, which was followed in 2000 by another large module, Zvezda, and three smaller modules in subsequent years.
EXPLAINED: THE $100 BILLION INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION IS 250 MILES ABOVE THE EARTH
The International Space Station (ISS) is a $100 billion (£80 billion) science and engineering laboratory orbiting 400 kilometers above the Earth.
It has been permanently manned by rotating crews of astronauts and cosmonauts since November 2000.
Research aboard the ISS often requires one or more of the unusual conditions present in low Earth orbit, such as low gravity or oxygen.
ISS studies have explored human research, space medicine, life sciences, natural sciences, astronomy and meteorology.
The US space agency NASA spends about $3 billion (£2.4 billion) a year on the space station program, a level of funding endorsed by the Trump administration and Congress.
A U.S. House of Representatives committee overseeing NASA has begun investigating whether the program could be extended beyond 2024.
Alternatively, the money could be used to accelerate planned human space initiatives to the Moon and Mars.