The International Space Station (ISS) will soon receive an upgrade, with the largest module ever launched at the station slated to go into orbit this week. The Nauka module, financed by the Russian space agency Roskosmos, will dock at the nadir port of the Russian segment of the station and will be used as a scientific facility, docking port and airlock for space walks.
NASA will be live streaming both the module’s launch and eventual docking with the ISS this week, and we have all the details on how to watch it at home.
What the introduction entails
The multi-purpose laboratory module Nauka is being finished with a proton rocket in the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan in preparation for its launch to the International Space Station ISS. Roscosmos
The module will be launched on Wednesday July 23 with a three-stage Proton rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
To make room for the new module, the old Pirs docking module is removed. For this purpose, on Friday, July 23rd, the unmanned cargo spaceship Progress 77 will dock with Pirs and then, still attached to the Pirs module, undock from the station. Both the Progress 77 and the Pirs module are then put into a deorbit maneuver so that they burn up in the earth’s atmosphere.
After a test phase, the new Nauka module then docks to the station.
“The Nauka module will be located at the Nadir port of the Zvezda service module and is intended for the implementation of the Russian scientific and applied research and experimentation program,” Roskosmos said in a statement.
“After the commissioning of the new module, the Russian segment will receive additional volume for workplaces and the storage of cargo, spaces for water and oxygen regeneration equipment, improve the conditions for the cosmonauts and increase the safety of the entire ISS crew.”
This is how you see the launch and docking
The launch and docking of the new module will be broadcast live by NASA. You can watch it at home either using the video embedded at the top of this page or by going to NASA’s website.
Launch coverage begins Wednesday, July 21 at 10:30 a.m. ET (7:30 a.m. PT), with launch scheduled for 10:58 a.m. ET (7:58 a.m. PT).
Once the module arrives at the space station, it will spend eight days, known as “free flight”, without docking with the ISS so that the engineers on the ground can check that everything is working properly. If everything is in order, the module is automatically attached to the space station.
The docking of the module with the ISS is planned for Thursday, July 29th. The event will again be broadcast live by NASA and coverage will begin at 8:30 a.m. ET (5:30 a.m. PT).