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Nauka module to the International Space Station

Context:

Russia’s space agency Roscosmos will be attaching a module called Nauka, which will serve as the country’s main research facility on the space station.

Relevance:

Prelims, GS-III: Science and Technology (Space technology)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About Nauka module
  2. About the International Space Station (ISS)
  3. Russia’s plan to withdraw from the ISS

About Nauka module

  • Pirs, a Russian module on the International Space Station (ISS) used as a docking port for spacecraft and as a door for cosmonauts to go out on spacewalks, was recently detached from the 22-year-old floating laboratory.
  • In its place, Nauka will serve as the country’s main research facility on the space station.
  • Nauka, was launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan is the biggest space laboratory Russia has launched to date.
  • The new module was sent into orbit using a Proton rocket — the most powerful in Russia’s space inventory.
  • On the ISS, Nauka will be attached to the critical Zvezda module, which provides all of the space station’s life support systems and serves as the structural and functional centre of the Russian Orbital Segment (ROS) — the Russian part of the ISS.

About the International Space Station (ISS)

  • The International Space Station (ISS) is a modular space station (habitable artificial satellite) in low Earth orbit.
  • The ISS program is a multi-national collaborative project between five participating space agencies: NASA (United States), Roscosmos (Russia), JAXA (Japan), ESA (Europe), and CSA (Canada).
  • The ownership and use of the space station is established by intergovernmental treaties and agreements.
  • The ISS serves as a microgravity and space environment research laboratory in which scientific experiments are conducted in astrobiology, astronomy, meteorology, physics, and other fields.
  • It is the largest artificial object in space and the largest satellite in low Earth orbit, regularly visible to the naked eye from Earth’s surface.
  • The ISS is the ninth space station to be inhabited by crews, following the Soviet and later Russian Salyut, Almaz, and Mir stations as well as Skylab from the US.

Russia’s plan to withdraw from the ISS

  • As tensions simmer between Russia and a number of Western countries on the ground, the head of the Russian space agency has announced work has begun on a space station of its own.
  • Russian officials have indicated they could pull out of the ISS in 2025 as the station’s structure is ageing and also the Russian space agency, Roscosmos, says that its agreement with the international partners runs out in 2024.
  • Appearing to pre-empt the decision to exit – the head of Roscosmos posted a video showing that the first core module of the new Russian orbital station is in the works and it is aimed at being made ready for launch in 2025.
  • The Russian space module, being assembled by the Energia corporation, is set to cost at least $5bn.
  • The planned Russian space station would orbit at a higher latitude and thus be better able to view the polar regions, which would be useful for the opening up of the Northern Sea Route. Russia hopes to develop the route as Arctic sea ice melts.

-Source: Indian Express

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September 2022
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