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Russia unveils small model of its proposed space station

Tabletop Model of Russian Space Station

The Russian space agency Roscosmos today unveiled a small tabletop model of the independent Russian space station it proposes to build that will replace its portion on ISS.

The picture to the right shows that model. It shows four large modules, a second docking hub, and a Russian manned Federatsiya (“Federation” in English) capsule (intended to replace Soyuz) docked to the nearest port.

Roskosmos said in a statement that the new space station would be launched in two phases, without giving dates. The first phase would see a four-module space station start operating. That would later be followed by a further two modules and a service platform, it said. That would be enough, when completed, to accommodate up to four cosmonauts as well as scientific equipment.

Roskosmos has said the new station would afford Russian cosmonauts a much wider view of the Earth for monitoring purposes than they enjoy in their current segment. Although designs for some of the new station already exist, design work is still underway on other segments.

Russian state media have suggested that the launch of the first stage is planned for 2025-26 and no later than 2030. Launch of the second and final stage is planned for 2030-35, they have reported.

Russia officials have also said that it will stick with its partnership at ISS until this new station has begun operations.

It will be very revealing how successful Russia is at meeting this timetable. For the past thirty years, since the fall of the Soviet Union and the advent of international cooperation at ISS, its aerospace sector has routinely failed to meet any schedule at all, promising a lot but never delivering, or delivering literally decades late. (For example, Federatsiya has been under development for almost a decade, with no apparent progress.) Forced to go it alone, and in competition with the rest of the world, that sector, now controlled and owned by the government (like the Soviet days), might finally have some incentive to produce.

Or not. The corruption that permeates Russia’s government is deep and widespread. It is entirely possible that a large percentage of the money budgeted for this project ends up in the pockets of its managers instead of used to build anything.

We shall have to wait and see.

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11 comments

  • geoffc

    So that looks like Nauka, and Prichal, with the airlock that came up with Rassvet. Then the two modules they still owe the ISS.

    I.e. The new station they will build isthe old station, with the latest modules, removed from the ISS. Which is what has been their desire for a while.

  • Jason Lewis

    Do they have the budget to build the thing? SpaceX has been eating away at the profits from their space program and there is now a boycott because of their role in Ukraine. I was under the impression that their economy already wasn’t great, and that the war in Ukraine was further depleting money.

  • Jeff Wright

    Mir 2

  • Gealon

    The Zvezda module on the ISS was slated to be Mir 2. This, to paraphrase Dune, is something unexpected.

  • Jim Terracall

    I was going to ask if anyone knew about the planned orbital parameters. But then I remembered that they are stuck with the furthest north launch site so they are probably going to be forced into an orbit around the same inclination as the current ISS. Am I missing something that I don’t know about?

  • Jay

    Jim Terracall,
    Good question, so the current plan is to use 51.6°. They are also talking about an orbit at an altitude of 372 km and with an inclination of
    96.9°.

  • Richard M

    Hello Jim,

    Apparently, the current line from Roscosmos is that the station will be put in a near polar orbit. Assuming it ever gets built.

    Vladimir Solovyov (Roscosmos’ general director of piloted programs) had an interview published in the latest issue of “Russkiy kosmos” magazine, in which he discusses this orbit, and the reasons why Roscosmos likes it:

    _______________________________
    What is special about the high-latitude version of ROSS?

    Solovyov: There were two decisive factors that played a role in choosing a high-inclination orbit. First, such an orbit will make it possible to see a maximum amount of Russian territory from the station. The 51.6° inclination orbit of ISS allows us to observe only about 10 % of our country directly under the station’s flight path.

    Second, it is necessary to conduct initial biomedical research in an orbit where the human organism is less protected by the Earth’s magnetosphere from cosmic radiation. This, in turn, is required to understand what will be faced by future interplanetary expeditions, which will also lack such protection.

    As a result, we settled on a unique Sun-synchronous orbit at an altitude of 372 km and with an inclination of 96.9° (334 km and 96.8° in the first phase), which will permanently provide favorable conditions to observe our own (and other!) territory.

    Besides, this orbit will make it possible to observe not only the entire territory of our country, but also both poles with optical, infrared, ultraviolet and other detectors, as well as with radars. We can do this every 90 minutes, which is very important. It will allow us to track the movement of various objects near the Earth’s poles, which gives a fundamentally new quality to space research.

    ROSS will operate in automatic mode and will be visited as required. As a result, the station will be used more effectively, not only for scientific and economic purposes.

    [Interview translation via B. Hendrickx]

  • pzatchok

    I built one of those models does that mean I get to have a space station also?

    They have the same space budget as the Ukraine, almost nothing. They are flying on old equipment and barely doing that.
    They do not have the industrial infrastructure to build their own space station, that is why they went to China asking for a ride and a place on their station.

  • GaryMike

    As much as I really want to poo-poo the Chinese-look-a-like station, omg I did it, Russia needs to get competitive. It will help us all.

    Not because we will want to ever again use their stuff (a trust thing), although that could actually happen (~RD180), but because they have a lot of smart people and keeping acquisition channels open is probably a smart thing. Trust, but verify.

    I have a Georgian sister-in- law, educated in Moscow. I appreciate her perspective on things of which I have no personal cultural experience. She’s almost a gem.

    I’m not interested in driving Russia any further into China than it already has been.

    I don’t trust them for a moment.

    Same thing with the Chi-comms.

    Been to China a couple times. Really nice people (if you don’t go too far off the reservation) . Wonderful food (if you don’t go too far off the reservation). Things can get really weird.

  • sippin_bourbon

    Is this a model of the Vladimir Putin Space Station for cosmonauts who can’t fly good?
    What is this.. a space station for ANTS!!!

    (/sarc)

    https://youtu.be/NQ-8IuUkJJc?t=69
    2:33

    For real though. Models are one thing. Whey they get close to launching a new module, I will believe it.

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