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Russia Schedules Launch of New Space Station Module for July 21

By Doug Messier
Parabolic Arc
July 10, 2021
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Fitting a radiator for the cooling system and installation of devices. (Credit: Yuzhny Space Center/Roscosmos)

MOSCOW (Roscosmos PR) — In accordance with the State Commission decision, the Proton-M carrier rocket with the new Nauka laboratory module is scheduled to launch from Site 200 of the Baikonur Cosmodrome on July 21, 2021 at 14:58:21 UTC. Reserve dates: July 22 and 23. Its flight to the International Space Station will take 8 days, and docking to the nadir port of the Zvezda service module is scheduled for July 29, expected at 13:26 UTC.

In this regard, undocking of the Progress MS-16 cargo vehicle with the Pirs docking module is scheduled for July 23 (subject to the Nauka launch on July 21). Four hours after undocking, the Progress is to enter the dense layers of the atmosphere and non-combustible structural elements of the ship and the module will sink in the non-navigable area of the Pacific Ocean.

Meanwhile, at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, routine preparations of the Nauka module are underway for the upcoming launch. The issues identified earlier have been resolved. Currently, the ascent unit is at the fueling and neutralization station, the most important operation of the final prelaunch preparation stage.

The Nauka Laboratory Module is a research module of the Russian segment of the International Space Station, developed by RSC Energia together with Khrunichev Center (part of Roscosmos) meant to expand the functionality of the Russian segment of the International Space Station.

The Nauka module was created on the constructive and technological basis of the Zarya Functional Cargo Block employing the experience of designing a transport supply vehicle for the Salyut crewed scientific stations and modules for retrofitting the Mir orbital complex. The Nauka module will be located at the nadir port of the Zvezda Service Module and is intended for the implementation of the Russian program of scientific and applied research and experiments.

After the commissioning of the new module, the Russian segment will receive additional volumes for the workplaces and storage of cargo, places for water and oxygen regeneration equipment, improve the conditions of cosmonauts’ stay, as well as increase the safety of the entire ISS crew.