Big scope with dual function of increasing workspaces and introducing 5 new docking doors for space capsules: The International Space Station (ISS) is expanding with the new Russian Prichal module. The docking of the new 14-cubic-meter module, made at 16:19 Italian time, represents a significant new step forward in the International Space Station’s “restructuring” programs and testifies to the renewed interest in habitable space outposts.
The new unit, whose name in Russian means port, is a type of flat ball measuring 3.5 meters by 5, weighing 4 tons and having a total volume of 14 cubic metres, twice the size of the SpaceX Dragon Cargo capsule. Prichal is a key component of the renovation program to increase the space and potential of the International Space Station whose fate in the coming years, by Europe and the United States, has not been decided well so far.
The unit is regularly docked to the Russian Nauka unit, which until a few hours ago was occupied by the Progress cargo ship, which was shot down and burned on re-entry.
However, the integration of the new unit must be completed with a space “march” scheduled for early January as the last connections between the two units will be made. The new unit’s functions include “testing structures for potential permanent settlements in space,” according to RussianSpaceWeb.com, and adding that it “could also serve as a hub for a new orbital base in the future.”
Prichal is the second new Russian space station in a few months. In July, the Nauka, also known as the Multipurpose Laboratory Module (MLM), the largest space laboratory ever put into orbit by Russia and who was also the unscheduled exciting and dangerous protagonist, merged after a few hours of accidental docking of ignition The engines caused the entire station to spin .
Although the Russian space agency Roscosmos has repeatedly said that it does not intend to launch the Russian section of the International Space Station, this new unit once again testifies to Russia’s growing interest in expanding the activities of the International Space Station beyond 2024, according to the official. Station “retirement” time. With more than 20 years of activity, the International Space Station suffers from various ‘diseases’ due to age, but the size of the base and the large investments made so far make it unlikely that the program will be abandoned in a short time, so much so that on more than one occasion , the United States and Europe have hinted at their desire to continue to maintain the International Space Station at least until 2028. These new developments in the “restructuring” of the International Space Station by the Russian side are only the last steps of what can be considered a race towards space stations that see even champions New players such as China, which in recent months has put the first core of its independent space station into orbit. There are also private companies such as Axiom that, pending a decision on the fate of the International Space Station, have decided to produce a prototype unit commissioned by Thales Alenia Space (Thales Leonardo), to be combined with the International Space Station and which can then be detached, forming an independent small base.
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