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Image Credit: NASA.

Cosmonauts continue outfitting of newly arrived Nauka module

On September 09, 2021, the two Russian cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov successfully conducted a multi-hour spacewalk to continue outfitting of the newly arrived Russian Nauka module.

During the 7 hours and 25 minutes outside of the International Space Station, the two men continued the installation of an ethernet cable and connected television and rendezvous systems to the Nauka module. They also finished the installation of handrails, jettisoned a cable reel and installed a biology experiment to the Poisk Docking Compartent.

The cosmonauts closed the hatch of the Poisk module’s airlock at 22:16 UTC, bringing an end to their extravehicular activity (EVA). Yesterday’s spacewalk was the second in a series of eleven planned EVAs, to prepare Nauka for its future operations. During the first spacewalk on September 03, Dubrov and Novitskiy installed the majority of handrails to the module, connected power cables and began the installation of the ethernet cable.

Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov outside of the ISS. Image Credit: NASA.
Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov outside of the ISS. Image Credit: NASA.

The Nauka module

The Multipurpose Laboratory Module (MLM), also known as Nauka, is a new Russian research facility docked to the ISS a few weeks ago. Development and construction of Nauka already began in the mid-1990s, however the module was originally designed as a backup for the Russian Zarya module and not as a dedicated research facility. Nauka had a launch mass of 20.3 tonnes, is equipped with a docking port for arriving Soyuz and Progress spacecraft and is able to transfer propellants between spacecraft and other modules. The module also provides space for up to three tonnes of research equipment and experiments and has its own onboard propulsion system, with which Nauka will help raise the ISS’ orbit from time to time. The MLM also includes space for another crew member, an additional toilet, an additional oxygen generator and is equipped with the European Robotic Arm (ERA).

Nauka launched on July 21, 2021 atop a Russian Proton rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. After about eight days in low Earth orbit, the module rendezvoused with the ISS on July 29 and subsequently docked to the Earth-facing (nadir) docking port of the station’s Zvezda module. Ahead of Nauka’s docking, the 20 years old Pirs Docking Compartment was undocked from Zvezda’s nadir port, to open it for the MLM’s arrival. Pirs, as well as the uncrewed Russian Progress MS-16 resupply freighter, to which Pirs was attached, burned up in Earth’s atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean a few hours after their departure.

Nauka docked to the ISS’ Zvezda module. Image Credit: NASA.
Nauka docked to the ISS’ Zvezda module. Image Credit: NASA.

Sources:

https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacestation/2021/09/09/cosmonauts-wrap-up-second-spacewalk-to-set-up-science-module/

https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-sets-coverage-for-two-russian-spacewalks-outside-space-station

https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacestation/2021/09/03/cosmonauts-conclude-first-spacewalk-to-ready-new-module/

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