Russian “Ace Pigeon”-the scientific experimental cabin took off from Baikonur

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Russian “Ace Pigeon”-the scientific experimental cabin took off from Baikonur

Proton-M launch vehicle ignites Air

The Russian Science Experiment Module was built in 1995. It was the ground backup module of the first module module of the International Space Station at that time. In 2004, Russia decided to transform the backup cabin into a real flight module and expand a new cabin for the Russian cabin on the International Space Station.

Russian “Ace Pigeon”-the scientific experimental cabin took off from Baikonur(1)

According to the original plan , “Science” will use the Proton-M rocket to launch into space in 2007, but it has been repeatedly delayed due to policy, financial, and technical issues.

Currently, there are a total of 5 Russian cabins on the International Space Station, namely, the Suguang multi-function cabin, the Star Service cabin, and the dock docking cabin, as well as the “Search” and “Dawn” two small Research module.

“Dawn” is the first component of the International Space Station, responsible for providing power, propulsion, navigation, communication, attitude control, temperature control, charging and other functions. The “Star” is also the core module of the International Space Station and the main place where astronauts live and work. The “Terminal” has two docking ports, one for docking with the “Star”, and the other for docking between the Russian Soyuz manned spacecraft and the Progress cargo spacecraft. “Search” and “Dawn” mainly provide support for application experiments inside and outside the cabin.

The “Science” launched this time is 13 meters long, 4.11 meters in diameter, 20.3 tons in mass, and 70 cubic meters in airtight space. The cabin is equipped with a variety of new supplementary equipment, which will provide favorable conditions for the development of scientific experiments. The engine can be used to control the attitude of the International Space Station. This cabin section will also replace the “terminal number” as a new node cabin, providing docking berths for cargo spacecraft and experimental cabins.

Russian “Ace Pigeon”-the scientific experimental cabin took off from Baikonur(2)

Announced in Russia “Science” structure diagram

In addition, “Science” provides cargo storage space and is equipped with life support functions, including the bed for the third astronaut in the Russian cabin and the second toilet (” There are already two beds and one toilet in the “Star”, a water oxygen regeneration system and a urine water regeneration system, all of which will improve the living conditions of astronauts.

The experimental cabin is also equipped with an airlock chamber and a remote-controlled robotic arm, which can be moved outside the Russian cabin to move the airlock chamber out of the cabin or back into the cabin.

“Science”, as the backup cabin of “Dawn”, began construction in 1995 and completed 65% of the development progress by 2000. However, affected by the financial situation of Russia, it continued until the end of 2006. Russia’s Korolev Energy Rocket and Space Company and the Russian Space Agency (now Russian National Aerospace Corporation) signed a contract for the development of a multi-purpose laboratory module. The development of the “Science” is on track again and is scheduled to be launched in 2009. .

Russian “Ace Pigeon”-the scientific experimental cabin took off from Baikonur(3)

Proton-M Rocket structure diagram and “Science”

However, the launch plan was delayed until 2014 after two delays. By 2012, the “Science” had completed the assembly of the remote-controlled robotic arm, cable lines, solar panels and payload, and tested the thermal control, hydraulic, electro-pneumatic systems and all mechanical interfaces, and basically completed the construction work. By the end of 2013, when Korolev Energy, Rocket and Space Company was testing the “Science”, it was found that the propulsion system was leaking. As a result, it was returned for repair and the launch continued to be postponed.

In the meantime, Russia experienced the impact of the Ukraine crisis and internal differences of opinion, which caused the launch of the “Science” to stall many times. At the end of 2016, when the researchers decided to start the construction of the experimental cabin again, they faced new problems.

As the “Science” was developed and parked for too long, many equipment began to deteriorate. Almost all propellant pipelines and valves running outside the cabin had to be replaced, and the engine had exceeded the warranty period. At the same time, due to a leak in the propulsion system, the robotic arm and some other equipment were removed and re-adjusted in order to replace the contaminated part.

Russian “Ace Pigeon”-the scientific experimental cabin took off from Baikonur(4)

From the front-end node Observe the internal space of the “Science”

In order to reduce risks, after the launch of the “Science”, it will first carry out an 8-day autonomous flight, and implement 4 orbit corrections, while verifying the performance of the propulsion system. If there is no leakage problem, “Science” will have two opportunities to complete docking with the International Space Station.

Whether it can become a core module remains to be seen

Russia has high expectations for the “Science”, using it as a core module, and planning it as a decommissioned international space station The country independently builds the core section of the space station.

Russian “Ace Pigeon”-the scientific experimental cabin took off from Baikonur(5)

“Science number “Admiral will install the ERA robotic arm developed by ESA

Now, although the United States and other countries have plans to keep the International Space Station working until 2030, its decommissioning has become a problem for all participating countries. one question. NASA intends to gradually transition the International Space Station to commercial use, and begins to lead its allies to advance the construction of the Gateway Earth-Moon Space Station. Russia also believes that the cost of continuing to maintain the International Space Station is too high and that it will provide little return to space development, and plans to plan the construction of its own independent space station.

In 2018, the Russian Energy Rocket Aerospace Corporation announced that it plans to launch a scientific energy capsule, a multifunctional experimental capsule, and a node capsule to the International Space Station before the end of 2019. Based on these several cabins, a new orbital space station will be built.

Russian “Ace Pigeon”-the scientific experimental cabin took off from Baikonur(6)

Russia is planned After the OPSEK new space station imagination map

, Energy Rocket Aerospace Corporation put forward the concept of building a new orbiting space station at the end of 2020. The construction plan will be divided into two phases. In the first phase, a space station consisting of a core module, a node module and an airlock module will be built in 2025-2026. The internal space can accommodate two astronauts to live and work.

In the second phase, four more cabins will be added to the space station in 2026-2028, expanding the internal space to 464 cubic meters, and can accommodate up to four astronauts to live and work inside.

Judging from the current progress, the “Science” will play a role in the construction of the Russian space station. While the International Space Station continues to operate, the “Science” can provide enhanced space experiment sites and improve the working and living environment of Russian astronauts. Once the International Space Station is decommissioned, the “Science” will be used as a basic module for the construction of Russia’s own space station.

In short, for Russia, although it has the ability to build a new space station, everything depends on funding. It remains to be seen whether Russia can complete the construction of its own space station as planned.