International Space Station (ISS)

Sandhi Yudha

Well-Known Member
There wasn't yet a thread about the International Space Station, but the largest and heaviest man-made structure orbiting the World deserves an own thread.

Construction of the ISS is almost finished, with only a small amount of components/modules still to be installed, including the Nauka with the European Robotic Arm, the Prichal module, and two power modules called NEM-1 and NEM-2.

The Nauka module was just launched two days ago on 21 July 2021 and will dock at Zvezda's nadir port, replacing the Pirs module that will be undocking on 24 July 2021 together with the Progress cargo spacecraft, and deorbiting four hours later with it.

The bus-sized Nauka research module — also known as the Multipurpose Laboratory Module, or MLM — has been in development for more than 20 years, originally as a backup for Russia’s Zarya module, the first element of the space station to launch in 1998. Russia said in 2004 that the backup to Zarya would be converted into a lab module for launch in 2007.

Designed to support scientific experiments, the module measures about 13 meters long and weighs about 20,2 metric tons fully fueled for launch. The Nauka module carries the European Robotic Arm, which was completed 15 years ago to await an opportunity to fly to the space station.

So the original plan was actually to send the Nauka module to the ISS in 2007, but technical and financial problems caused the delay of 14 years.

The Nauka module will dock to the ISS at the nadir (Earth facing) port of the Zvezda module. As we can see on the Wikipedia image below, that place is now occupied by the Pirs docking module. To make place for the Nauka module, Pirs will undock on 24 July 2021 from the ISS together with the Progress MS-16 cargo spacecraft attached to it. Progress MS-16 will then deorbit four hours later with Pirs to finally re-entry Earth atmosphere.

The docking of Nauka on the ISS is planned for 29 July 2021.


Last edited:

Sandhi Yudha

Well-Known Member
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #2
There were some unexpected challenges on the way from Earth to ISS, and there were also some technical problems after docking, but eventually everything is alright now.