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Russia Launches Nauka Space Station Module into Orbit

By Doug Messier
Parabolic Arc
July 21, 2021
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BAIKONUR COSMODROME, Kazakhstan (Roscosmos PR) — On July 21, 2021 at 17: 58: 24.938  Moscow time, the launch vehicle “Proton-M” with the multipurpose laboratory module “Nauka” was launched from the launcher No. 39 of the launch pad No. 200 of the Baikonur cosmodrome. According to the received telemetric information, all stages of the launch vehicle flight (separation of stages and dumping of the nose fairing flaps) passed in the normal mode.

The Proton-M launch vehicle provided the launch of the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module into low-earth orbit with the following parameters:

  • Apogee height – 375.5 km;
  • perigee height – 199.0 km;
  • inclination – 51.6 degrees;
  • circulation period – 89.96 minutes.

In accordance with the flight sequence, 580.3 seconds after the launch, the head unit separated from the third stage of the carrier. Further rendezvous with the International Space Station is carried out by the engines of the Nauka module. The duration of the module insertion into the docking area with the ISS is 8 days.  Docking to the Zvezda module is scheduled for July 29, 2021 at 16:26 Moscow time.

The Proton-M launch vehicle has been serially manufactured at the Khrunichev Center (part of the Roscosmos State Corporation) and has been used to launch payloads into specified orbits and departure trajectories within the framework of federal and commercial programs since 2001. Over the years of operation, the Proton-M rocket went through four phases of deep modernization, which made it possible to significantly improve its energy-mass and environmental characteristics when removing heavy single and paired payloads. Today’s launch was 425th for the Proton rocket and 111th for the upgraded version of the launch vehicle.

Nauka is a multipurpose laboratory module for the Russian segment of the International Space Station. It was created by the cooperation of enterprises in order to implement the program of scientific experiments and expand the functionality of the Russian segment of the ISS. After its commissioning, the Russian segment will receive additional volumes for the arrangement of workplaces and storage of goods, placement of equipment for the regeneration of water and oxygen.

Module purpose:

  • Provision of docking of Progress MS transport cargo ships, Soyuz MS manned transport spacecraft and the Prichal nodal module;
  • roll control of the International Space Station;
  • receiving fuel from the Progress MS cargo spacecraft, storing it and transferring it to the tanks of the Zvezda module for performing dynamic operations – correcting the orbit, attitude and stabilization of the ISS;
  • storage of cargo delivered in the interests of the Russian segment of the ISS;
  • ensuring the functioning of the European manipulator ERA;
  • functioning of a complex of target loads for the implementation of the program of scientific and applied research in conditions of increased comfort of the crew;
  • oxygen production to meet the needs of a crew of up to six people;
  • the functioning of the airlock to work with target loads, including the use of the European Robotic Arm robotic arm;
  • functioning of the on-board workshop and a cabin for the third crew member of the Russian segment of the ISS, as well as ensuring the operation of a sewage and sanitary device with a system for regenerating water from urine.

5 responses to “Russia Launches Nauka Space Station Module into Orbit”

  1. Nowhereman10 says:

    This is exactly what I was hoping for Nauka after all these many years of toiling and dealing with one technical setback after another…. a very anti-climatically smooth and perfect launch.

    Here’s hoping on-orbit ops goes just as smoothly.

    • duheagle says:

      Alas, they did not, but it seems Roscosmos may have pulled its chestnuts out of the fire anyway. We’ll have to wait and see.

      • Nowhereman10 says:

        The press sensationalism with regards to the small issues suffered has sent a bunch of people into unnecessary hair-pulling and gnashing of teeth. Nauka’s recent successful burns put it up into an altitude where it will be months before anyone has to worry about it and things are going so well now that tomorrow Pirs is being undocked from ISS.

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