A Russian module named Nauka will be added to the International Space Station for research facilities after the existing one is detached.
The existing module is the Pirs and is used by astronauts as a door for space walks and also as a docking port for spacecraft.
The module will be launched by Roscosmos and will mark a major collaboration attempt between US (NASA), Canada (CSA), Japan (JAXA), Europe (ESA) and Russia (Roscosmos).
A Proton rocket was used to launch the Nauka module from Kazakhstan’s Baikonur Cosmodrome.
Functions of Nauka
Nauka translates to science in Russian language. It was due to be launched in 2007 but was postponed due to technical issues.
The module will be carrying ESA-built robotic cargo crane and will contain a toilet, a spare bed and an oxygen generator.
The Nauka will be attached to the Zveda module, which is the Russian part of the International Space Station and supports Russia’s scientific experiments.
The Pirs was a smaller module that could perform only limited functions such as allowing astronauts to enter or leave for space walks and docking spacecrafts.
A cargo ship will be used to pull apart the Pirs module and bring it to Earth. The module and the cargo ship will be burned upon its entry.
International Space Station
It is a floating spacecraft which revolves in the low-earth orbit. It allows astronauts to stay on board and perform various experiments in microgravity.
Various types of research that have been performed on ISS include human physiology, biology, space and material science etc.