Future ISS Russian modules
The launch schedule for future Russian modules and the final composition of the Russian segment is still somewhat uncertain, and rather confusing! They seem to keep getting pushed back, and the funding cuts to Roskosmos announced in December 2015 will only make this worse – they may never launch at all.
|December 2017||MLM, Multifunctional Laboratory Module, Nauka (“Science”)
МЛМ, Многоцелевой Лабораторный Модуль, «Наука»
|Third quarter of 2018||UM, Node Module
УМ, Узловой Модуль
|Progress M-UM 303 on a Soyuz-2.1b rocket|
|2019||NEM-1, Science-Power Module-1
НЭМ-1, Научно-Энергетический Модуль-1
|Proton-M (or Angara A5) rocket|
|201?||NEM-2, Science-Power Module-2
НЭМ-2, Научно-Энергетический Модуль-2
|Proton-M (or Angara A5) rocket|
According to the Novosti Kosmonavtiki article, «Программа развития российского сегмента МКС» (ISS segment development program):
Therefore, by 2015 the ISS RS will include 8 modules: FGB Zarya, SM Zvezda, MLM, MRM-1-CDM, MRM-2-DC2, NM, SPM-1 and SPM-2. The RS total mass would be 122 tonnes, the pressurized volume up to 400 m³, and a power capacity of 80 kW.
Such a projected configuration of the ISS RS allows, if required, to start independent flight of the RS as a separate Russian orbital station.
The full-scale deployment of the RS will allow a continuous Russian presence in space, will provide an opportunity for fundamental scientific research, will give a chance for development of unique new materials, and will provide an opportunity for additional commercial services in space. In a longer-term perspective the ISS RS could be used for development, assembly and maintenance of lunar and interplanetary flights.
The ISS RS development program is approved by the Scientific and Technical Council of RKK Energia and Roskosmos management. It should now get the endorsement of the Russian government and receive full financing. Only in this case the full-scale ISS RS could be completed.
Below are details of some of the Russian modules, listed in flight order. To make things more confusing, these have more than one name! I refer to them by the transliteration of their Russian acronyms.
Multifunctional Laboratory Module (MLM)
Многофункциональный Лабораторный Модуль
The MLM, named Nauka («Наука», “Science”), is to be launched in December 2017 (as of 2016), and will occupy the nadir port of the Zarya module. It has been beset by delays – in 2013 a leaking fueling valve inside the propulsion system was found during tests, so it was sent back to GKNPTs Khrunichev for repairs. (Via the MLM thread at NASASpaceflight.com)
The MLM was created as a backup for the FGB in 1995 by GKNPTs Khrunichev (it was originally designated “FGB-2”). It has been modified since to accommodate the reduced configuration of the ISS.
The MLM was included in the configuration of the Russian segment in the documents:
- “Implementation of abbreviated ISS configuration,” «Опроведении работ по упрощенной конфигурации МКС», Rosaviacosmos Decision of 16 February 2004, approved by Yu.N. Koptev who was then the Director General of Rosaviakosmos;
- “Multipurpose Lab Module (MLM) implementation process using the FGB 2 backlog,” «О порядке проведения работ по многоцелевому лабораторному модулю (МЛМ) с использованием задела по ФГБ-2», the Federal Space Agency Decision of 20 July 2004, approved by A.N. Perminov, the Head of the FSA.
On 3 November 2006 a government contract between Energiya and Roskosmos was signed to begin development of the MLM. Energiya was the prime contractor; subcontractor companies included M.V. Khrunichev GKNPTs, NIITP, RNIIKP, NIIAO, VNIIEM, NPP Kvant, NIIMASh, Submicron and NPP Zvezda.
The tasks of the MLM are:
- To provide storage capacity and an extra docking port.
- To enable fuel to be transferred to storage tanks in Zarya and Zvezda from Progress cargo ships via fuel lines.
- To distribute power from the Science and Power Platform (though the SPP may not be launched). It will provide 5.5 kWt of power, enough so that the Russian Segment does not have to use power from the U.S. segment.
- To accommodate and support the operations of the European Robotic Arm.
- To accommodate scientific research.
- To provide extra life support systems (such as another Elektron oxygen generator?), living space, data transmission services and power (via its two solar arrays).
- To control roll maneuvers of the ISS when the Station adjusts its attitude.
- Commercial customers will also be able to make use of the facilities of the MLM.
The MLM will use the probe-and-drogue docking system (see ISS docking systems page) to accommodate Progress and Soyuz spacecraft.
|Mass at launch||20,300 kg|
|Mass in reference orbit||to 24,000 kg|
|Volume in the sealed compartment for scientific gear||4 m³|
|Pressure volume||70 m³|
|Mass of scientific gear||to 3-x tons|
|Quantity of the universal work sites||12|
|Parameters of reference orbit|
|• Maximum height||350 km|
|• Minimum height||185 km|
|• Orbit inclination||51.6 0|
Node Module (UM)
This module is required to attach the Science Power Modules and to provide extra docking ports (5 in total). It is to be launched in 2013. Its name might be «Причал» (Prechal, Mooring/berthing).
|Pressurized volume||14 m³|
|Available docking ports||5|
Science Power Modules 1 & 2 (NEM)
Научно-Энергетический Модуль-1 и -2
These two modules (NEM-1 & -2) are required to ensure an independent power supply to the ISS Russian Segment; they will have 48 kWt capacity each. In accordance with an agreement with NASA, the RS is partially supplied with power from the American segment, but this is possible only till 2015. For further RS operations it should have its own power system, and it is envisaged to have 2 similar modules for this purpose: SPM-1 in 2014 and SPM-2 in 2015. They would be launched by Proton-M rockets and would be docked to the port and aft docking ports of the UM.
|Dimensions with the fully deployed solar arrays and radiator||26.5 х 25.3 х 10.5 m|
|Pressurized volume||up to 150 m3|
|Pressurized volume for scientific equipment||12 m3|
|Solar arrays power capacity||36 kW|
European Robot Arm (ERA)
The 11-meter ERA is one of ESA’s main contributions to the ISS. It is a joint project between ESA and the Russian Federal Space Agency, Roscosmos, and is developed by Dutch Space. Similarly to the Canadarm-2 on the U.S. segment, the ERA will be used to move around up to 8 tonnes of cargo and experimental equipment, utilize its videocameras to inspect the Station’s exterior and also transport spacewalkers to different parts of the Station. It will be able to autonomously “walk” around the Station using prefixed base points. It is to be launched by a Proton rocket as part of the MLM module. However, with the delays with the MLM, it may not be launched as funding for it from ESA is to be cut in 2014.
Some are from this NSF thread.
- Energiya: RS ISS next modules (192 KB), from the SpaceOps 2010 Presentations documents page
- MLM (52 KB)
- Three unlabeled MLM computer diagrams: 1, 2, 3
- From the NASA PDF document “Head of Russian Federal Space Agency ISS Program International Cooperation, Paris, June 17, 2009” (500 KB): Multi-Purpose Laboratory Module
- Airbus Defence & Space: ERA
- Energiya press-releases:
- 21 November 2006: “About the ISS Russian Segment Multi-Purpose Laboratory Module Activities”
- 7 August 2009: “At S.P. Korolev Rocket and Space Corporation Energia the works are in full swing, which are aimed to create two new modules, small research modules MRM-1 and MRM-2, for the International Space Station”
- 14 December 2012: “RSC Energia commenced activities on flight item of Nauka module”
- 20 June 2016: “Yet another milestone reached in the work on Nauka module for the ISS”
- ESA Human Spaceflight projects: European Robotic Arm
- ESA Permanent Mission in Russia: European Robotics under the spotlight
- GKNPTs Khrunichev: FGB-based Multipurpose Lab Module (MLM)
- NASASpaceflight.com threads: MLM, Node Module, Science Energy Module(s)
- Novosti Kosmonavtiki: «NASA оплатило полёты своих астронавтов до 2011 года» (“NASA has paid for flights of the astronauts till 2011”), №6, 2007. Includes diagrams of the SGM.
- Russian Space Web: FGB-2 module of the ISS (now MLM); NEM; Node Module
Updated 21 Jun 2016
Related page: ISS overview