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Roscosmos finally approves ISS module Nauka for launch

After successfully completing its last ground tests, Roscosmos announced today that it has finally approved the launch on July 15th of its next module for ISS, dubbed Nauka.

Nauka’s long road to space began more than a quarter of a century ago, in 1995, with this year’s launch about fourteen years behind schedule. An engineer who started working on Nauka after graduation at the age of 25 would now be a grizzled veteran of 51 and looking forward to retirement in only a few years.

The module will provide the Russian half of ISS a second restroom, greater oxygen and water recycling capacity, and room for a third resident, all necessary additions for the planned two commercial tourist launches Russia has scheduled for the fall.

Pioneer cover

From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.

Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.

The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.

He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.

Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at amazon, Barnes & Noble, all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit. And if you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.


  • Jim Davis

    I think we can safely conclude that Russia will not be pulling out of ISS in 2024. They would save this module for a new station if that was their intent.

  • Jim Davis: Don’t be so sure. Nauka is about as old as Zvezda, the module on ISS that appears to have structural stress fractures. Russia would likely not want to use it on a new station.

    Their problem for leaving ISS is money. They want to leave and build their own station, but they don’t have the cash any longer to pay for it. Thus their continuing effort to partner with either the U.S. or China on future projects. We are their sugar daddy.

  • David Eastman

    Jim Davis: The Russians have been mulling three basic approaches to their next station:
    1. Separate the most functional of their current modules from the IIS after 2024, and add enough new modules to make it work.
    2. Divert some of the ISS modules that they have in production but not yet launched, upgrade them a bit, and use those as the core of a new station.
    3. Send the in-production modules to ISS as planned and build a new station from scratch.

    As of the last meeting a month or so ago, it seems they like something between 2 and 3, where some of the modules in production will go to ISS, but others will get repurposed and used as the core of a new station, which will be at a very different inclination than the IIS is, preventing the re-use of anything currently at IIS.

    But as Robert says, the plans and designs that come out of their meetings are one thing, their budget is another. They have plans for a new space station, plans for manned lunar expeditions, plans for multiple new rockets, plans for advanced reusability, plans for upgrades to their launch facilities, and the budget to do MAYBE one of those things.

  • Jay

    Maybe the Russians want to sell off their segments to NASA or to private business or another MirCorp and sell Progress services for orbit boosting?

    I think David Eastman’s number one assessment will come true: I don’t think the Russians will put up their own station unless they break off their portion from the ISS.

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