MOSCOW, July 26. /TASS/. The Progress MS-16 resupply ship with the Pirs module of the Russian segment of the International Space Station (ISS) has undocked from the orbital outpost’s Zvezda service module, Russia’s State Space Corporation Roscosmos announced in a live webcast on Monday.
At 5:01 p.m. Moscow time, the space freighter will ignite its engines for braking. According to calculations by Mission Control, the spacecraft carrying the module will re-enter the dense layers of the atmosphere at 5:42 p.m. Moscow time and any fragments that don’t burn on re-entry will splash down in a non-navigable part of the Pacific Ocean.
The Pirs module was launched to the orbital outpost on September 15, 2001 from the Baikonur spaceport in Kazakhstan. The module was orbited with the help of a Soyuz-U carrier rocket and a Progress M-CO1 space vehicle.
The Pirs module was used as a docking port for crewed and resupply spaceships. Russian cosmonauts earlier made spacewalks from the Pirs module before November 2020. In November 2020 and in June this year, the ISS Russian crew members made spacewalks from the Poisk module.
The Russian cosmonauts earlier prepared the Pirs module for undocking. They carried out this work both in extra-vehicular activity and aboard the space station. In particular, the cosmonauts separated the hydraulic circuit and carried out switching operations to control the docking port through the Progress MS-16 space freighter and also inspected the docking assembly and its systems.
The Pirs module was docked to the nadir port of the Zvezda service module. Later, its slot will be taken up by the Nauka (Science) research lab that was launched on July 21 from the Baikonur spaceport. Initially, the Pirs module’s sinking in the Pacific was scheduled for July 23 but was postponed by three days.
Russia’s Nauka module
A Proton-M launch vehicle with the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module blasted off from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 5:58 p.m. Moscow time on July 21. The module is currently staying in near-Earth orbit. As Roscosmos Chief Dmitry Rogozin said during the Nauka module’s launch, the ground-based signal reception station in Barnaul temporarily did not receive telemetric data. On July 22, the Nauka module test-ignited its engines and two orbit adjustments were conducted. On July 23 and 24, specialists carried out two more Nauka module orbit corrections.
The Nauka multi-functional laboratory module is for implementing a Russian program of applied research and experiments. With the launch of the Nauka research module into operation, the Russian segment of the International Space Station will get additional space for equipping workplaces, storing cargoes and accommodating water and oxygen regeneration equipment.
The Nauka module will provide a second toilet for Russian cosmonauts (the first is located in the Zvezda module) and a room for a third crewmember. It will also use the European Robotic Arm (ERA) that will help perform some operations without spacewalks. The Nauka module will deliver water containers, handrails, ventilators, cables and other cargo to the ISS.