Russia is working towards the future expansion of its segment of the International Space Station. Although major additions to the United States’ segment have mostly ceased following the end of the Space Shuttle Program in 2011, Russian segment expansion is set to restart as early as the middle of next year.
Russian segment expansion
Since the International Space Station (ISS) program started in the 1990s, Russia has intended to expand its segment of the ISS from its current configuration. The first proposed module was the Science Power Platform – also known as the NEP – designed for the canceled Mir 2 space station.
The NEP would have consisted of two parts – a small pressurized module, and a truss with solar arrays, radiators and a robotic arm. The eight solar arrays would have generated enough power to end the Russian segment’s partial-reliance on the United States segment’s solar arrays.
Diagram of the NEP, showing its eight solar panels and single radiator deployed. Credit: NASA
However, the NEP was cancelled in 2004 after a lack of funding. In the same year, the focus was switched from the NEP to a new module, Nauka.
Nauka – also known as the Multipurpose Laboratory ...