International Space Station

Russian Research Modules

Two Russian Research Modules will provide the International Space Station sites for Russia's experiments in:

  • Earth Sciences, including natural and human-induced variations in air and water quality, regional and global climate, land use, and food production.
  • Space Sciences, pursuing studies on solar and cosmic physics, astronomy, and astrophysics, as well as solar and inter-planetary dynamics.
  • Fundamental Biology, particularly the ways plants and animals adjust to the virtual absence of gravity.
  • Human Life Sciences, research on ways to use microgravity in developing or improving treatment and prevention of diseases and disablities.
  • Microgravity Sciences, including materials, combustion, fluid physics, fundamental physics and biotechnology.

Plans call for Research Modules 1 and 2 to be sent into orbit on separate launches. The launch vehicle will be the Russian Soyuz rocket, since 1963 the primary launcher used for crewed Russian space flights.

The two labs will be attached to the Universal Docking Module, a Russian element that provides a five-port node for additional Russian modules and vehicles. It in turn will be attached to the Service Module and perform the same functions as the U.S. nodes.

The Universal Docking Module will permit pressurized passage between the three facilities, as well as between Soyuz TM, Progress M1 and other Russian spacecraft. Personnel in the Russian Research Modules also will have direct access to the Docking Compartment through the Universal Docking Module.

Both of the Russian Research Modules will be built by the Moscow-based companies Energia and the Khrunichev State Research and Production Center. They will be launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Their launch vehicles will be Soyuz rockets.