back to article Have you turned it off and on again? Russia's Nauka module just about makes it to the ISS

Russia's elderly Nauka module has made it to the International Space Station (ISS), some 25 years since construction of the research module began. Despite a somewhat problematic start to life in space following its launch atop a Proton-M rocket from Baikonur Cosmodrome, engineers were able to fire the engines of the veteran …

  1. BobC

    Nauka = Science!

    "She's tidied up and I can't FIND anything!"

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Nauka = Science!

      > a new bathroom for cosmonauts.

      So what's Russian for port-a-potty ?

  2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    UK in a unique position

    If we are counting "space" in the Bezos/Branson sense I suspect that a teutonic eyebrow might be raised.

    If they mean orbit - isn't Russia in Europe anymore ? (Yes Baikanur is in Asia but back in the good old days they launched from Archangel)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: UK in a unique position

      The UK should just contract with SpaceX to build a launch facility in the UK and launch SpaceX rockets from it. That would be faster than any other way. Maybe sweeten the deal someway to also have the SpaceX rockets to be launched from the UK built in the UK. (Well, maybe not as nothing would generate failures like unionized labor. Better to import the rockets from the US.)

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: UK in a unique position

        The problem is that the Earth is round.

        Launching polar orbits from the northern bits of the UK is OK (except for weather)

        Launching eastwards is a problem since a failed launch would fall on some grumpy foreigners with rockets of their own.

        Equatorial launches are right out due to the insistence that Britain remain in Europe

        1. DJO Silver badge

          Re: UK in a unique position

          Equatorial launches are right out due to the insistence that Britain remain in Europe

          The Rock of Gibraltar is close to the equator and full of tunnels anyway, go full super-villain and hollow it out for launches, proximity to the ocean provides nice abort areas and it's easy to keep the shark tanks full.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: UK in a unique position

            There are many British islands in the Caribbean that also benefit from having 1000s of British technology companies located there.

            1. bazza Silver badge

              Re: UK in a unique position

              Trinidad and Tobago is only 300miles north of French Guiana, and looks (at a casual glance) that it might have the room.

              However, equatorial launch is primarily suited for GTO / GEO, for which there's already a glut of launchers available globally.

              1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

                Re: UK in a unique position

                Equatorial is no worse for other orbit inclination - it's just that you don't benefit for higher inclinations where ever you launch from. Main issue is not having powerful neighbours north and east of you.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: UK in a unique position

          Launching polar orbits from the northern bits of the UK is OK (except for weather)

          Nah, the weather isn't a problem. We're used to it - that's why we build all-weather aircraft (i.e. cockpit windows essentially pointless).

          No one planning on launching anything out of Scotland would succeed unless it could stand a raging hoolie, and is also midgie proof. One visit is all one needs to realise that.

          1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            Re: UK in a unique position

            Weren't they originally planning on using Prestwick?

            What if there is a launch accident and a massive explosion so close to Glasgow?

            < > punchline < />

      2. Oh Matron!

        Re: UK in a unique position

        But none of Boris's chums will be able to line their own pockets with contracts for mates if we get Musk to do the heavy lifting

  3. John Sager

    I don't think I'll call Success until it's all been checked out and the cosmonauts are happy to live in it. Note they may have to live in it without being happy with the prospect.

    1. slimshady76
      Boffin

      There are still 11 spacewalks, spread over the next 7 months, to connect the nauka module to the electric and hydraulic systems of the Russian ISS segment before the cosmonauts could feel at home there.

      This isn't the equivalent of mating your roulotte to the hitch of your Ford and connecting the stop/turn lights' wires. Or maybe it is, but at a massive scale.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        You are building a space module - for space - and you put all the hookups on the outside ?

        Isn't that like having a tank that you have to get out to fire the gun ?

        1. Gotno iShit Wantno iShit

          and you put all the hookups on the outside ?

          Mir had some hookups on the inside, this made closing the pressure doors in an emergency a slow process. Plus you really really don't want the cooling hookups leaking indoors.

          1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            If only there was US and Russian experience building craft inside pressure vessels with airtight compartments and pressure tight electrical/gas feed thoughts.

            Perhaps they could find some WWII German experts

  4. Down not across Silver badge
    Pint

    Not bad

    Not a bad achievement for something quarter of a century old that they blew the dust off and sent up.

  5. Zimmer
    Coat

    New Bathroom..

    That wouldn't be the one with the Wolowitz space toilet, would it?

  6. Peter Mount
    Mushroom

    It's not over yet

    About an hour ago Nauka decided to randomly fire it's thrusters, throwing the ISS 45 degrees off axis.

    Sounds like they've now got the errant thrusters under control but it's a bit worrying that they've still got issues with this new module even though it's docked.

    1. Mishak

      Re: It's not over yet

      That's bad. I would have expected a safeing procedure and interlocks to stop that.

      Let's hope Boeing do a little bit better when they launch tomorrow...

      1. Sven Coenye

        Boeing is not going

        The Starliner launch has been delayed to give the ISS crew time to complete the Nauka checkouts.

        1. 42656e4d203239
          Joke

          Re: Boeing is not going

          >>The Starliner launch has been delayed to give the ISS crew time to complete the Nauka checkouts.

          The Starliner launch has been delayed to give the ISS crew time to complete the Nauka checkouts Boeing more time to test the software

    2. bazza Silver badge

      Re: It's not over yet

      That really is bad...

      1. HildyJ Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: It's not over yet

        At a news conference it was reported that updated software or software commands were uploaded to prevent this in the future. Presumably this will allow Nauka to tie into the ISS automated trim system (which was what corrected the trim when the Nauka thrusters fired).

        As we learned with Hubble, fixing a decades old system is not that easy. I offer a pint to all the Russian boffins and cosmonauts who worked this out.

    3. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: It's not over yet

      They've reported that the tanks for those thrusters are now empty so there shouldn't be anymore "uncommanded" firings of those.

  7. bazza Silver badge
    Pint

    I have to say that, considering where they were immediately after launch, getting it there and docked is quite a feat for the flight controllers, crew, their support and other participants in the ground->ISS journey. Hats off, beer well deserved.

    The fact that their talents were required in this way is a great pity, considering what it indicates.

  8. Pete 2 Silver badge

    1990's colour scheme

    > a new bathroom for cosmonauts.

    From a 25 year old design. So is it coloured avocado?

  9. andrewmm

    So launch from Uk

    in which direction ?

    East is best, as it gains the earth rotation speed,

    but Europe might wonder about that

    West is useless,

    south , see East

    Leaving north, o

    from somewhere north, such as scotland,

    or are the independent on this ?

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      >from somewhere north, such as scotland,

      You only have to launch it toward the North, not from the North.

      So long as it is clear of the M25 Hampstead, where it comes down isn't a problem

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Is this related to Boris "levelling up" thingy? Is the "up" superfluous when he really just means "levelling" the North?

      2. The commentard formerly known as Mister_C Silver badge

        Or, as Tom Lehrer put it:

        Don't say that he's hypocritical,

        Say rather that he's apolitical.

        "Once the rockets are up,

        Who cares where they come down?

        That's not my department,"

        Says Wernher von Braun.

  10. I am David Jones
    Unhappy

    What if?

    I’m now wondering how easy it would to be for that module to irreversibly de-orbit the ISS if the thrusters were firing in the wrong direction…

  11. Tron Bronze badge

    G-Force!

    We used to launch from the Isle of Wight and it was always rather pleasant when I went there. Bognor could be pencilled in as an emergency 'hard landing' site, should the launch go badly.

    Building the soon-to-be-Independent Republic of Scotland a shiny new spaceport on top of the RMS Carrie, the Giant BoJo Bridge and the London climate dome might stretch the finances a bit. Plus they have a lot of midges. Midges are a known issue (Star Trek TOS Ep 8).

    How about Tristan da Cunha? After their inevitable failures (metric/imperial snafu, buffer overflow, MS upgrade mid-launch), Rockety McRocketface I, II and III can plop into the biggest bit of ocean. Nobody would ever know if we bung FlightRadar24 a few quid. No clean up costs. What loud bang? We're just tourists.

    We can slow Our-New-Enemies, the Norwegians down with a court order claiming cultural appropriation. Amstrad own the rights to 'Spectrum'.

    Incidentally, at the risk of being controversial, should we be building our rockets in such a phallic shape in the era of #MeToo? Shouldn't we turn away from such a gendered design and employ gender-neutral shapes instead?

    1. Francis Boyle

      Tristan da Cunha?

      You'd have to hollow out the volcano and you'd probably find that Bezos or some guys called Tracy had got there first.

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