Two Russian astronauts yesterday successfully completed an almost seven-hour spacewalk removing and repositioning equipment to prepare ISS for the arrival of Nauka next year, Russia’s next module for ISS.
The Pirs module will be removed and junked next year to make room for the research lab Nauka — Russian for “science.” Several Russian-directed spacewalks will be required to deal with all this. The plan calls for attaching a cargo ship to Pirs in order to guide it to a fiery reentry.
The new 22-ton lab — stretching 43 feet (13 meters) long — is so big that it will be launched from Kazakhstan by a powerful Proton rocket. Once at the orbiting outpost, it will double as an air lock and docking port.
Earlier it had been announced that they would also do an inspection of the area on Zvezda where they had also discovered a small crack, the cause of the longstanding leak on the station. It appears they did not do this. probably because astronauts inside the station had placed a new permanent patch on the leak, and the work they were doing during the spacewalk carried a higher priority.
Expect that inspection to eventually occur, but for now the cause of that crack remains unknown.
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