Earlier this 12 months, Russian house officers had been speaking about pulling out of the Worldwide Area Station in 2025. However that didn’t cease them from sending up a brand new addition to their phase of the outpost. It’s referred to as the Nauka module, and its design and growth started greater than 20 years in the past.
The module fills a spot within the Russian portion of the station for a capsule meant for science experiments, and is seen as essential for your complete Russian program. It should additionally present an assortment of different enhancements to Russia’s part of the station.
Right here’s what you must know concerning the Nauka module and its arrival to the house station on Thursday.
When is the docking and the way can I watch it?
The brand new Russian module is scheduled to reach on the house station on Thursday round 9:25 a.m. Jap time.
NASA TV will stream stay protection at 8:30 a.m. Jap time. Viewers who need to watch the operation in Russian can tune into the YouTube web page of Roscosmos, the Russian house company.
What’s the Nauka module?
Nauka was initially constructed as a backup for an additional Russian module, Zarya, and later repurposed. Nauka in Russian means science, becoming it primary mission: housing laboratory gear for experiments.
Past that, the module features a radiation-insulated cabin with further lounge for astronauts, a bathroom, new water recycling and air filtering programs, cupboard space, and a robotic arm offered by the European Area Company.
With a weight of greater than 20 tons and a size of greater than 42 toes, Nauka is ready to turn into one of many largest modules on the station. A sequence of spacewalks will probably be wanted to hook it as much as the station’s electrical and command circuits.
Why is Russia including a brand new part to the house station?
Improvement of the module started within the mid-Nineteen Nineties, earlier than the primary elements of the station went aloft and lengthy earlier than the present political tensions with america, which have raised the prospects of Russia quitting the house station by 2025.
Its launch was repeatedly delayed by manufacturing flaws and underfinancing, leaving a spot on the Russian aspect of the station. Russia is at the moment the one main operator with out its personal laboratory module.
Outfitted with photo voltaic panels, Nauka can even make the Russian orbital phase much less depending on power coming from the American aspect. Further liveable house, together with a mattress for one astronaut, will make it attainable for the everlasting Russian crew to be expanded to a few members.
What issues did the module have after it launched?
A Russia Proton rocket flawlessly lofted the brand new module into orbit, however issues appeared virtually instantly.
A glitch with the spacecraft’s engines had scientists again on Earth nervous for days, in line with the European Area Company, whose robotic arm is hooked up to the module. “Adversity insisted on being a part of the journey,” the company stated in a press release.
Whereas Nauka will ultimately connect to the station, it flew as an autonomous spacecraft for a number of days in orbit. The module deployed its photo voltaic panels and antennas however then failed to fireplace engines to lift its orbit, a probably mission-ending downside. Russian engineers managed to right it, the European Area Company stated, characterizing the episode as just a few “hectic days at mission management.”
Roscosmos, the Russian house company, by no means immediately addressed the issues in its updates on the mission, noting solely in a information launch final Thursday that the module’s thrusters had been, actually, working. “Telemetry confirmed the module propulsion unit operability,” Roscosmos stated within the assertion.