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).