Russia launches multi-port module for International Space Station

The Soyuz rocket launched a new Russian docking compartment for the International Space Station on Wednesday. The six-port node will use a propulsion system from the Progress Cargo spacecraft to the space station for robotic docking in a naval laboratory module early Friday.

The Soyuz 2.1b rocket took off from Kazakhstan’s Baikonur Cosmodrome at 8:06 a.m. EST and boarded the space station’s orbit spacecraft. Eight minutes and 45 seconds later, the node module, known as the perch, was released to Russian for pier or mooring, and its progress “space tug” was launched to fly on its own.

A Russian Soyuz 2.1b rocket roars live on the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, adding a new multi-port docking module to the International Space Station. The Perchal Docking Node is the last major Russian addition to the space station.


The Progress M-UM propulsion system will perform a careful temporal series of home-to-home thruster firing at the station. Assuming the planned launch and meeting, the Russian Progress MS-17 cargo ship will be separated from the port to make way for the early morning Fishing, or the rare, Thanksgiving morning.

Standing in the Russian Zvezda module of the station with station commander Anton Shakplorov, ready to seize by remote control if required, the new docking compartment is expected to evacuate the boat only at 10:26 a.m. Friday. Rare ports will be added.

In addition to bringing 2,200 pounds of cargo and equipment to the station, Prachal will provide its land-facing port and four radial docking ports for viewing Russian cargo ships and Soyuz crew ferries. A robotic mechanism will allow the Russians to move a vehicle approaching a radial port from a land-bound port as needed.

Purchal also has plumbing that will allow progressive cargo ships to transport propellants by tank to Zaria and Zvezda modules in tanks. Thrusters and visiting progress spaceships in the Russian segment periodically increase the height of the station and change its direction.

The addition of the Prichal and Nauka multi-purpose laboratory modules in July marks a significant expansion in the Russian part of the International Space Station, increasing the number of pressure modules from four to six and adding five more ports.

Russian astronauts plan a series of spacewalks over the next several months to make power and data connections, connect devices and install other outdoor equipment.


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