International Space Agencies – Missions and Discoveries

Russia’s Nauka Module for ISS


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: International Space Station (ISS), Nauka

Mains level: Not Much

Pirs, a Russian module on the International Space Station (ISS) used as a docking port for spacecraft and as a door for cosmonauts to go out on spacewalks. In its place, Russia’s space agency Roscosmos will be attaching a significantly larger module called Nauka.

What does Russia’s new Nauka module do?

  • Nauka, which is 42 feet long and weighs 20 tonnes, was supposed to be launched as early as 2007, as per the ISS’s original plan.
  • Nauka — meaning “science” in Russian — is the biggest space laboratory Russia has launched to date, and will primarily serve as a research facility.
  • It is also bringing to the ISS another oxygen generator, a spare bed, another toilet, and a robotic cargo crane built by the European Space Agency (ESA).
  • The new module was sent into orbit using a Proton rocket — the most powerful in Russia’s space inventory — on July 21 and will take eight days to reach the ISS.

What kind of research goes on at the International Space Station?

  • A space station is essentially a large spacecraft that remains in low-earth orbit for extended periods of time.
  • It is like a large laboratory in space and allows astronauts to come aboard and stay for weeks or months to carry out experiments in microgravity.
  • For over 20 years since its launch, humans have continuously lived and carried out scientific investigations on the $150 billion ISS under microgravity conditions, being able to make breakthroughs in research not possible on Earth.

Back2Basics: International Space Station (ISS)

  • The International Space Station, which launched its first piece in 1998, is a large spacecraft that orbits around the Earth and is home to the astronauts.
  • The ISS is currently the only active space station in the earth’s orbit.
  • The first crew on the space station arrived on November 2, 2000.
  • The space station is home to a minimum of six astronauts, with two bathrooms, a gymnasium, and a big bay window.
  • It is a joint project between five participating space agencies -NASA (USA), Roscosmos (Russia), JAXA (Japan), ESA (Europe), and CSA (Canada).

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