Russia launches new module to ISS

A new Russian module, named Prichal, is on its way to the International Space Station. This will reach the ISS on Friday, November 26 in the morning, if all goes as planned.

A Russian Soyuz rocket took off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Wednesday, November 24. At the top of it was a modified Progress cargo ship, accompanied by a new Russian-made module, the Prichal. The latter should dock with the International Space Station tomorrow morning (November 26) at 2:26 p.m. French time.

ISS - Credit: Wikimedia
ISS – Credit: Wikimedia

If everything goes as planned, Prichal will dock autonomously with the new Russian multipurpose module. The latter, named Nauka, suffered an accident earlier this year. By mistakenly turning on its thrusters, it pushed the International Space Station out of orbit. The ground controllers were, however, able to rectify the trajectory of the ISS. A few months later, a second incident caused by a Soyuz vessel docked at the station caused the station to tilt abnormally. Once again, technicians were able to rectify this error.

Prichal: the module will survive the end of the ISS, and will be part of a new station

The Prichal module means “dock” in Russian. This one, with an empty mass of 4 tons has an internal volume of approximately 14 cubic meters. For comparison, SpaceX’s Dragon cargo and crew capsules have a volume of 9.3 cubic meters. Prichal is equipped with six mooring ports, one of which will be moored at the Nauka. The other five will be available for passing spaceships, thus helping to expand the technical and operational capacities of the ISS.

Prichal sera le second Russian module to arrive at the station in less than four months. Nauka joined the ISS last July. But the Prichal module should not not stay long a simple additional module of the ISS, because it has other ambitions. Indeed, the station should be deorbited by 2030. After separation of the Russian segment from the American segment scheduled for the long term, the module was to be the mooring node for a new space station.

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