September 24, 2021

Skywatcher saw Russia’s Nauka science module heading to the space station (photo)

Just a few hours after launching into orbit on Wednesday (July 21), a British astrophotographer captured the magnificent view of the Nauka Science Module, Russia’s largest international space station expansion project to date.

Martin Lewis posted his photo on the Skyinspector.co.uk website. He moved from his office in St Albans shortly after Wednesday (July 21) at 21:00 UTC (5 pm EST). This photo was taken in the backyard, about 20 miles (35 kilometers) away in north London, using his homemade 222mm Dobson telescope.
Lewis told Space.com that he was preparing to photograph the International Space Station (ISS) that passed by that day, and was notified by another astrophotographer of Nauka Pass at around 8 pm, also known as the multi-purpose research module: 00 UTC (4 In the afternoon, Eastern Time).

Sky observers initially predicted that the module, which was launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Russia only five hours ago, would hover over its location about seven minutes after the space station. However, when the module appeared overhead only two minutes after the station, they were caught off guard.

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“I used a 2.7x Barlow lens and a 642 nanometer filter to set up the digital camera [ Telescope], “Lewis told Space.com in an email. “I recorded the stream of video frames of the International Space Station with an exposure time of 0.7 milliseconds, I manually guided the telescope and kept the International Space Station in the focus of the viewfinder. Only after completing the recording of the International Space Station I realized how close the Nauka module was.

Lewis said he only shot the “19 good video frames” of Nauka, due to lack of prep time, he was a little “scared”.
When Lewis rushed to capture the photo, Nauka’s ground control team and Russia’s Roscosmos space agency were clearly fighting a more intense battle, because it appeared that some of their communication and propulsion systems could not be used shortly after that the module separated from the Proton M Rocket. Normal work. Eventually, the engineers managed to correct the problem and started Nauka’s short delayed ascent to the orbital outpost.

Roscosmos issued a statement on Thursday (July 22) that approximately 24 hours after the launch of Nauka, after a lot of speculation by space fans on Twitter, the space station module has successfully started the engine and performed two orbit correction operations.

The statement also stated that the Pirs docking module, which now occupies the space station’s Nauka slot, will depart and de-orbit on Saturday (July 24), but due to continued efforts to troubleshoot in Nauka, it was postponed to Sunday. The unloading was originally scheduled to take place on Friday. Currently, Nauka is expected to dock at the former Pirs location of a land-facing port of the Zvezda service module built by Russia at the station on July 29.

Nauka represents Russia’s largest contribution to the International Space Station so far. It was conceived in the 1990s, has been grounded for nearly two decades, and is out of date. The module was originally scheduled to be released in 2007, but due to a series of technical problems it was delayed for 14 years.

The 43-foot (13-meter) Nauka
module (its name means “science” in Russian) weighs almost 23 tons (21 metric tons) and is 14 feet (4.3 m) wide. However, it is not just a new research room on the space station.
Nauka will add a new space bath for the crew of the space station, provide additional accommodation for the crew of Russian astronauts, a new oxygen regeneration system and a system to recycle urine into drinking water.

The module will also provide the European robotic arm, an 11 m (36 ft) long attachment to the space station built by the European Space Agency. This is the first robotic arm specifically designed for the Russian part of the International Space Station.

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