Russia launches modified Progress cargo spacecraft and new Prichal module to ISS
Russia launches new rocket
At 8:06 a.m. EST on Wednesday 24th Nov., a Russian-built Soyuz rocket holding a modified Progress cargo spacecraft launched from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan. The new Prichal docking module was also included in the rocket.
“Liftoff! A new docking port takes flight 23 years and 4 days after the first module was launched to the International Space Station “NASA spokesman Rob Navias stated. During the agency’s live feed, he stated the voyage to orbit was faultless.
On Friday, November 26th, at 10:26 a.m. EST, the Progress will transport Prichal to the orbiting lab (1526 GMT). If everything goes according to plan, Prichal will dock autonomously with Russia’s new Nauka multifunctional module at this time.
According to RussianSpaceWeb.com, the 4-ton spherical Prichal (Russian for “pier”) has an internal volume of 494 cubic feet (14 cubic meters). For comparison, SpaceX’s Dragon cargo and crew capsules have a pressurized volume of 328 cubic feet (9.3 cubic meters).
About Prichal’s Docking Ports
On Friday, one of Prichal’s docking ports will connect with Nauka’s Earth-facing port. The remaining five will be available to visiting spacecraft, allowing the technical capabilities to be expanded. Furthermore, Roscosmos, Russia’s state space agency, is claimed to be expanding the operating capabilities of the Russian part of the International Space Station’s orbital infrastructure.
Prichal has the potential to influence spaceflight beyond the International Space Station. According to sources, it’s used for “testing architecture for potentially permanent communities in space.” It also mentions that it might be used as a hub for a new orbital base in the future.
In less than four months, Prichal will be the second Russian module to arrive at the station. On July 29, Nauka arrived at the orbiting laboratory, causing quite a stir. After docking, Nauka’s thrusters fired unexpectedly, causing the ISS to rotate nearly 540 degrees.
Although no harm was done in that situation, space station managers will undoubtedly be expecting Prichal’s arrival to be far less eventful.