Feeds

Parking spot flies to International Space Station

Spacecraft docking day or night

Intelligent flash storage arrays

A new Russian module has arrived at the International Space Station today, providing the orbiting outpost with an much-needed extra parking spot for its expanded crew of six.

The unmanned Russian Mini-Research Module 2, also known as Poisk, docked to the space-faring port of the Zvezda service module on Thursday 15:41 GMT (10:41 EST). It used an automated radar-guided system to rendezvous, two days after launching from Kazakhstan.

Because the space station's crew was increased to six this year, two Russian Soyuz spacecraft are required to be docked at the ISS at all times to serve as emergency lifeboats. Before the new Poisk docking module, that left only one open spot for docking Russia's Progress resupply craft and for Soyuz crew rotation missions.

Poisk means "search" or "explore" in Russian.

It is the first major addition to the outpost from Russia since the launching of the near-identical Pirs docking module in 2001. In addition to Poisk providing the ISS with additional parking, the module will be used as an airlock for spacewalkers wearing Russian Orlan spacesuits.

Poisk arrived at the ISS carrying about 1,750 pounds of equipment that includes water supply gear, crew hygiene supplies, medical equipment, personal items, and spare parts. The module weighs about 8,000 pounds and is about 13 feet long and eight feet in diameter at its widest point, according to NASA.

Poisk approaching the ISS, courtesy: NASA TV

The station now has five docking ports total: one located on the American segment for US shuttles, and four on the Russian segment. European Space Agency craft also dock on the Russian segment, while Japanese craft are attached to the American segment.

Russian cosmonauts Max Suraev and Roman Romanenko will open the hatch to Poisk on Friday and enter the module for the first time. But before the Poisk is ready to host visiting spacecraft, the module's Progress space tug will be jettisoned around December 8. Cosmonauts will also perform a spacewalk in January to ready the port for rendezvousing.

Meanwhile, the ISS Expedition 21 crew is preparing for next week's scheduled arrival of space shuttle Atlantis on the STS-129 mission to deliver critical spare parts to station. Atlantis is penciled in for a launch from Kennedy Space Center in Florida on November 16. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
MARS NEEDS WOMEN, claims NASA pseudo 'naut: They eat less
'Some might find this idea offensive' boffin admits
SECRET U.S. 'SPACE WARPLANE' set to return from SPY MISSION
Robot minishuttle X-37B returns after almost 2 years in orbit
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
You can crunch it all you like, but the answer is NOT always in the data
Hear that, 'data journalists'? Our analytics prof holds forth
No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer
'Solar sail' demonstrator project binned
America's super-secret X-37B plane returns to Earth after nearly TWO YEARS aloft
674 days in space for US Air Force's mystery orbital vehicle
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
Origins of SEXUAL INTERCOURSE fished out of SCOTTISH LAKE
Fossil find proves it first happened 385 million years ago
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.