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Russian Space Station Module Runs into Trouble in Orbit

By Doug Messier
Parabolic Arc
July 22, 2021
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Russia’s new ISS science module Nauka ran into trouble after launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome on Wednesday. A number of anomalies have popped up; the most serious issue at the moment appears to be with the Nauka‘s engine, which is needed to maneuver the module for a docking with the International Space Station.

Roscosmos has been of no help in sorting out the reports. The Russian corporation in charge of the country’s space program has issued no updates since reporting a successful launch aboard a Proton booster.

Nauka is designed to replace the Pirs module, which the ISS crew planned to jettison. Below is a list of Nauka‘s functions.

  • 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.

8 responses to “Russian Space Station Module Runs into Trouble in Orbit”

  1. Robert G. Oler says:

    blame Stalin

  2. ThomasLMatula says:

    Of course not, it is Russia where failure is rewarded with a permanent transfer to Siberia. Old habits die hard.

    Here is hoping that they will be able to salvage it. If not then here is hoping the Pirs module is able to last until a replacement is built.

  3. Terry Stetler says:

    At first I rejoiced that Proton didn’t screw itself into the steppe again, but now…. ?‍♂️

  4. therealdmt says:

    Ruh roh

  5. Andrew Tubbiolo says:

    A Falcon upper stage with a docking module would make a great tug to either save it, or put it in the drink.

    • duheagle says:

      ~30 stable orbits is about two days, at least half of which is already gone as I write this. Perhaps SpaceX could have put up such a rescue mission if a suitable adapter actually existed. As it does not – and there is no time to design and build one – such a mission is not in the cards. Either Roscosmos gets its gremlins chased or Nauka is toast quite soon.

      Perhaps Nauka will be saved after all. From Gizmodo yesterday.

  6. publiusr says:

    Nice graphics. It actually reminds me of the ship of the mid 70’s Cybermen at Voga

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