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Due to cracks, Russia will no longer use Zvezda’s docking port

Russian officials today revealed that they will no longer use the docking port on its Zvezda module on ISS because of the stress fracture cracks they have found in the section where that port is located.

Russia is unable to use one of the docking ports of the ISS to its full extent due to cracks in the transitional chamber of the Zvezda module, the general designer of Russia’s Energia corporation, associate member of the Russian Academy of Sciences Vladimir Solovyov said on Monday. “The transitional chamber’s loss of airtightness is often mentioned these days. We are very fortunate the cracks are at the end. We shut down that compartment, thus losing one docking port, which narrows our opportunities somewhat. The crack is very insignificant, though,”

In other words, they have sealed the aft section of Zvezda to reduce further air leaks, thus also closing off access to the port.

The Russian portion of ISS presently has two docking ports on two different modules. When Roscosmos launches its Prichal docking hub in November, to be attached to Nauka’s port, they will then add four more ports.

This decision underlines the impending end to ISS’s life span. Zvezda is not the only old Russian module on ISS where stress fractures have been found. “In August they found cracks in the module Zarya, the oldest module on ISS.

Though the U.S. part of ISS shows no such problem, it is designed to rely on the Russian half for its operations. If Russia must shut down its modules then the station will not be able to function for much longer.

The U.S. will likely overcome some of these issues with the planned launch in ’24 of Axiom’s private commercial module to ISS, which will eventually evolve into an complete space station separate from ISS. For the Russians the pressure to design and launch their own new station has become more critical. Whether they can do it however is unknown. Russia has not built a new space station module in decades. Their new ISS module, Nauka, was built in the 1990s.

Conscious Choice cover

Now available in hardback and paperback as well as ebook!

 

From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

 
Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.

 

“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.

 

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4 comments

  • Jay

    So far I think there has been 100 dockings to the aft port of the Zvezda module, not counting any re-dockings. I was going to make a joke parodying “100 bottles of beer on the wall”, but the serious question I had is how will they boost the station’s orbit with the Progress spacecraft if they can’t park it there? I did some reading and Nauka has a fuel line connection to Zvezda. Progress feeds Nauka, Nauka feeds Zvezda, and Zvezda uses its engines to boost the orbit.

  • Robert

    When the time comes to retire the ISS, don’t let it burn up in Earth’s atmosphere. Send it to the Earth-Moon L1 liberation point. Then put a large cage around it. Later on, there would be a pressurized tube around it. From inside the tube, tourist could see the ISS, old spacecraft, and old satellites. All of that would be in the metal cage.

    With Spacex Starship, it will cost about $20,000.00 to go to the Moon, and back. The spacecraft could make a stop at L1, and the passengers could then see the ISS.

  • Jeff Wright

    I agree-no point Nemo!

  • When the time comes to retire the ISS, don’t let it burn up in Earth’s atmosphere. Send it to the Earth-Moon L1 liberation point. Then put a large cage around it. Later on, there would be a pressurized tube around it. From inside the tube, tourist could see the ISS, old spacecraft, and old satellites. All of that would be in the metal cage.

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