With the engine problems of Russia’s new ISS module Nauka apparently resolved sufficiently for its rendezvous and docking expected on on July 29th, Russian astronauts today undocked the 20-year-old Pirs module, which then used its engines so that it safely burned up over the Pacific Ocean.
The article provides a nice history of Pirs, which was originally intended for Russia’s Mir-2 station, never built after the fall of the Soviet Union.
Pirs, meaning “pier,” traces its origins back to the Mir-2 space station — which was itself a Soviet project that’s design began in 1976. Mir-2’s long and troubled history would eventually find it in the early 1990s where major design changes to launch its various modules via the Buran space shuttle were underway.
Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in December 1991, Mir-2 emerged the following year as a four-module station — including a Docking Module, which would become Pirs. In 1993, Mir-2 officially merged with the long-delayed NASA/European/Japanese/Canadian space station Freedom project to become the building blocks of the International Space Station.
The module, which provided the Russian half of ISS needed extra docking ports, was originally expected to be replaced after about five years with a larger module, but this was never built.
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