Russia’s Prichal module docks at ISS
Russia’s new docking module Prichal on Friday successfully docked with the International Space Station (ISS), the Russian space agency Roscosmos said.
The new addition to the ISS completed an automated docking with the nadir (Earth-facing) port of Russia’s Nauka lab module at 1519 GMT, it said.
Roscosmos chief Dmitry Rogozin congratulated the Russian crew members of the ISS on the “successful docking” of the module, the agency said.
The module blasted off into orbit on Wednesday from the Russia-leased Baikonur spaceport in Kazakhstan, carried by a Soyuz rocket.
Prichal — which means “pier” in Russian — is the second permanent addition to the Russian segment of the ISS this year, after the long-awaited arrival of the Nauka science module.
According to Roscosmos, the five-tonne docking module can accomodate up to five spacecraft and will also deliver cargo to the ISS, including food rations, repair tools and hygiene supplies.
The docking of Nauka in July had complications after its thrusters unexpectedly fired, causing the stations to briefly tilt out of orbit.
Last week, Russia faced an international backlash after Moscow destroyed a satellite creating a cloud of space debris that forced the ISS crew to take shelter.
The ISS is due for retirement after 2024, although NASA has said it could remain functional until at least 2028.
Russia has said it intends to create its own orbital station.
Launched in 1998 and involving Russia, the United States, Canada, Japan, and the European Space Agency, the ISS is one of the largest international collaborations in science and engineering.