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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.

12 responses to “Russia Schedules Launch of New Space Station Module for July 21”

  1. Saturn1300 says:

    I hope they do not have any trouble with Proton.They have lost some of those.

  2. BeanCounterFromDownUnder says:

    Does anyone know why Russia is still launching this module when they’re apparently leaving the ISS?

    • delphinus100 says:

      Fulfilling a prior agreement, I must assume.

      (And there’s really nowhere else for it to go for now…compatibility with Chinese hardware is highly unlikely.)

    • ThomasLMatula says:

      The Russians have been leaving the ISS since the program started. But waving some money in front of them keeps them putting it off…

    • duheagle says:

      The Russkies will stick with ISS as long as there’s money to be made from it. The only way to do that now is to pare back their cosmonaut complement and carry more tourists. Much is made of Nauka being a “science laboratory.” But it also has more sleeping quarters and another lavatory. It’ll be mainly a hotel room for tourists, not test tube central. If space tourism ever fails as a cash cow, the Russkies will be out of ISS in a flash.

  3. Pete Zaitcev says:

    “The issues identified earlier have been resolved” touches upon one of the juiciest stories of Roskosmos’ year. As it’s common today, they posted photographs of the module in a fairing half to Twitter. Bloggers (in particular, A. Zak) compared these photos with earlier photos of Zvezda and noticed that Nauka lacked certain insulating sleeves. Apparently, workers of Roskosmos forgot to install them. Nauka was taken back from the fueling position and removed from the fairling, so the missing sleeves could be installed. I thought Doug would be all over this, but nope, nobody cares. Just another day at Roskosmos, bloggers saving ISS modules from disaster, whatever.

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