Astronaut Thomas Pesquet has given a tour of the latest module to arrive at the International Space Station (ISS).
Russia’s Nauka Multipurpose Logistics Module (MLM) hit the headlines in July when its thrusters unexpectedly fired up shortly after docking, temporarily knocking the space station out of alignment.
The worrying situation was quickly brought under control, and this week Pesquet showed space fans inside the module for the first time.
Je vous fais visiter notre tout nouveau module scientifique à bord de la Station : MLM !
Join me on a tour of the @Space_Station's newest (and possibly most dramatic 😉) module – MLM. @iss_research @roscosmos #MissionAlpha pic.twitter.com/keun7Dk2pw
— Thomas Pesquet (@Thom_astro) August 17, 2021
Nauka will function as a science facility, docking port, and spacewalk airlock, mainly for the Russian cosmonauts aboard the ISS. It replaced the outdated Pirs module that arrived at the station shortly after astronauts started living and working aboard the orbiting outpost two decades ago.
Pesquet, who’s been on board the ISS since April 2021, begins the tour by floating through several sections of the main part of the space station to reach the entrance to Nauka.
Upon entering, the French astronaut notes the smoke-like odor, which rather than being something to worry about is actually a characteristic of newly arrived modules, apparently the result of exposure to the sun’s heat.
Pesquet is also quick to point out the location of Nauka’s toilet. “It will be our third toilet,” he says, adding, “It might sound random, but this is something you have to think about when you’re in space, and with longer [missions] and bigger crews on board the space station, we have to come up with solutions, and this is part of it.”
The astronaut shows us the module’s numerous science racks that will be used for experiments, adding that the new facility will also house the control panel for operating the recently arrived European Robotic Arm on the outside of the ISS.
Nauka also includes an astronaut cabin that includes “all modern conveniences,” Pesquet says, though he was unable to show us inside as it’s still full of equipment that needs to be sorted.
Finally, at the far end of the module, we get to see Nauka’s docking ring for incoming spacecraft, as well as a small hatch for sending science experiments outside of the ISS, and a “rather big” window for views of Earth 250 miles below. No doubt Pesquet will soon be returning to Nauka with his camera to add to his growing collection of stunning Earth shots.
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