ISS-64 mission


ISS-64

ISS crew:

Commander -
Sergey Ryzhikov
Flight engineers:
Sergey Kud-Sverchkov
Kathleen Rubins
Michael Hopkins
Victor Glover
Shannon Walker
Soichi Noguchi


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Nauka module testing continues

November 3, 2020

At the testing facilities of the Baikonur launch site, specialists from affiliates of the State Corporation Roscosmos continue testing the new Nauka module for the International Space Station. Currently, out of the 754 checks that the module is supposed to pass prior to launch, 306 have been completed as per the daily schedule of factory checkout tests.

Completed are protective operations on the vehicle, protective operations on the thermal control system components, and checkout of the pyro circuits. As for the onboard equipment control system checkouts, the following activities have been completed: a check of the robotic arm power switching unit, a check of the upgraded signal replication unit, a check of buses for exchanges via the docking system, a check of commands for the test control matrix, a check of the circuits in the onboard equipment control system via umbilical connector plate, a check of the backup circuits of the tacho sensors, and many other tasks.

In addition to this, Russian rocket and space industry specialists have tested deployment and stowage of the Kurs-P and Kurs-A antennas, deployment/stowage of the docking target and window cover, completed a check of the power supply and the solar array deployment actuator controls. Before long, the specialists will also run checks on the stand-alone electric heater for the passive docking port, and the sensor circuits on the active docking port. Also scheduled are protective operations for the scientific payload circuits, for the airlock, etc.

At the Area 254 of the Baikonur launch site, training sessions were run in the Nauka module for Roscosmos cosmonauts Oleg Novitski and Petr Dubrov. This crew is supposed to receive the new module at International Space Station next year.

Deputy Head of the spaceflight center of the Rocket and Space Corporation Energia (which is a part of the State Corporation Roscosmos) for activities design and training facilities Pavel Vinogradov talked about the session and its importance for the crew pre-flight training:

Our task was to show the guys the module when it was not still fully clothed. To catch it at the moment when all the systems and hardware they are to operate in-orbit have already been installed, but there are still missing interior panels and some other pieces of equipment which might get in the way of detailed study of the systems. It was also important for them to examine the module from the outside, while it still has not got installed its multi-layer insulation, solar arrays and ERA robotic arm, because those items cover up many structural elements of the module, such as lashings for science payloads, which the crew is supposed to install in orbit. The module is very complex, so it is impossible to study it from pictures only; you need to touch the actual hardware with your own hands. The next time well see the module, it will be fully outfitted, it will look prettier, but we wont be able to have a look at its certain peculiarities, of which one would need to be aware to operate it on the ISS.

At the eng of the session, the specialists from the Energia spaceflight center and the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center drew up a report containing about 40 recommendations for safe and comfortable stay and work of the crew in the module. There are no items of particular concern, all the recommendations are only aimed at further improving the Nauka module, which still has the same hull, but its equipment is now certainly different. These include the new air supply system and toilet, a huge wall to accommodate scientific experiments (easy-to-use interfaces for installing all kinds of science payloads), and an additional crew cabin. I wont deny that I liked the module. I should also make a special mention of how it is being processed for launch. The engineers and tester work literally day and night. And getting to meet the crew is also important for their morale. By the way, we did our best to come at a time when we didn't get in the way of the processing flow and to fit nicely into the existing schedule.

We all understand that the module deployment and integration into the ISS Russian Segment will not be a task which will involve one crew only. That's why we hope that well find a way to get around the pandemic, and let not only Novitski and Dubrov have a look at Nauka, now in at fully operational state here on the ground, but also other cosmonauts who are expected to visit the ISS in the next few years.

 


 

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