Today you can see something we haven’t seen in more than a decade. The International Space Station (ISS) is getting a new module, the first since 2011. This module is called the Russian word for science Nauka and it was launched on July 21 with a clever device powered by the European robotic arm that itself is a different Russian module of the ISS. The arrival of the 13-meter (43-foot), a 23-ton module for docking with the ISS can be seen directly on the NASA website, on TV channels, or via YouTube embed below, starting at 8:30 a.m. (12:30 UTC). It will serve as a new science facility, docking port, and spacewalk aircraft for future activities.
Before the boat arrived, the ISS had to remove the Pierre docking station and the Progress spacecraft. Peers have been working for over 20 years and now it has become the first module of the ISS to be scrapped. The advance spacecraft, which arrived in February, pushed the module into a controlled fire in the atmosphere on Monday night.
You can watch the spectacular Roscosmos footage of the module undocking as it happens in Slow-Mo. Much of this was destroyed by the tenants as they calmed down in the structural elements. If you want to see a module assembly live but don’t have time today, don’t worry. Several more modules are still expected to arrive at ISS, the next one not too far away. The Prichal module is currently scheduled to launch on November 24, 2021. Two power modules, NEM-1 and NEM-2, are also expected to be launched.
The ISS is currently approved to operate at least until December 2024, when its future will have to be decided. Russia has already announced that it will begin construction of its own space station, aimed at launching it into orbit by 2030, which means leaving the ISS by 2025. Carrying the European Robotic Arm (ERA), this module is a new robotic addition designed to serve the Russian section of the space center, successfully separated from the launch 580 seconds after the lift-off.
“T + 9: 40 minutes after the liftoff, the Nauka versatile laboratory module Proton-M carrier rocket became nominally different from the third stage!” Russia’s space agency Roscosmos confirmed the successful separation in a tweet that was later taken offline. “It is now launching the 8-day autonomous flight of the ISS.”