These two points are very closely related.
Yes, once upon a time, 50 years ago, a country that was a leader was the first in the world to launch the Salyut-1 orbital station into space. It happened on April 19, 1971. And already on October 11, 1971, having spent 175 days in orbit, the station was de-orbited by MCC commands and entered the dense layers of the atmosphere. Unburned debris fell into the Pacific Ocean.
During this time, only two expeditions were sent to the station, Soyuz-10 (commander V. A. Shatalov, A. S. Eliseev and N. N. Rukavishnikov) docked, but the cosmonauts could not open the hatch and go to the station. The flight in coupled lasted 5 hours and 30 minutes, after which undocking took place and Soyuz-10 returned to Earth.
The second expedition aboard Soyuz-11 (commander G. T. Dobrovolsky, V. N. Volkov and V. I. Patsaev) docked and carried out the flight program, despite the fact that they had to fight with smoke and extinguish another fire on board. ... On the way back, Soyuz-11 depressurized and the cosmonauts died.
With regard to Salyut-1, we can say that the first pancake came out lumpy. But then other "Salutes" and "Mir" followed, treacherously de-orbiting and flooded in the ocean "as unnecessary."
And now, 50 years later, it turns out that Russia is again at the beginning of the path that another country has traveled. But the USSR had slightly different resources and opportunities. Soviet engineers and workers in the space industry were really the best in the world.
But the main thing was that they worked without looking back at anyone and without someone else's help. During the Cold War, you could only count on yourself.
Today the situation is very similar. And sanctions, and actually lost positions in space exploration, and the destroyed space industry - everything is there. It is very difficult to say even when it was more difficult - in 1971 or in 2021.
It seems to me that it was easier in 1971. Then there was a wide road and perspective ahead. Today it is hard to believe in the prospect, because Borisov and Rogozin talk about it, who only know how to say what. Things are much worse for them.
ISS station in June 1999. Zarya and Unity.
However, one cannot but agree that the ISS is everything. The station began on November 20, 1998 with the Zarya module, which is exactly everything. And the further, the more dangerous its exploitation will become.
Well, the American "Unity" is not much younger. In general, the ISS resource can be extended after 2024, but this, you see, does not mean that the station will function normally. Indeed, the risk is very high.
But now we are not talking about the risk of being on board the 25-year-old ISS, but about the risks that are associated with attempts to go our own way and the construction of a Russian space station.
In fact - deeply welcome. But at the same time there is an understanding that everything is not easy.
Optimism may be inspired by the work on the Mir-2 station, the continuation of the Mir, which Russia refused.
In general, the work was carried out and implemented, Mir-2 was built, this is the Zvezda module, which operates as a life support module for the Russian segment of the ISS station.
Yes, there is no question of using the Zvezda. She is only two years younger than Zarya. So, it will not work to undock the Russian segment. Moreover, the more frequent air leaks at the station are possibly caused by the fact that 90% of the ships and 100% of the orbit corrections were made precisely through the "Zvezda" and its three ports. It is the Progress trucks docked to the Zvezda that correct the ISS orbit with their engines, which does not have a positive effect on the tightness.
Well, the American position is no less destructive for the ISS. Americans are strongly opposed to extending the life of the station beyond 2024. And since the American contribution to the ISS is the most significant and significant, after their departure from the ISS program, it will cease to exist as an international platform altogether. And everyone will have to scatter to the national rooms after the exploitation of such a luxurious apartment as the ISS.
But there is nothing to be done about this, politics everywhere laid its paw. Even in space.
And now it was reported that after 2024 Russia will also not participate in the ISS project, but will be engaged in the construction of its own orbital station.
The role of cabbies at the ISS is really unprofitable for us, cosmonauts have long complained about the lack of work opportunities, since the pragmatic Europeans, Japanese and Americans themselves operate their scientific modules quite well, not particularly pleasing our free time.
By the way, having your own station is very useful, if only because it is possible, as in the good old Soviet times, to do things that the “partners” do not need to know about.
But what can Roskosmos really offer in terms of building a new orbital station "only for its own"?
In our difficult times, there are a lot of people who want to be smart and teach how to do it. But in the present situation, after so many publications on near-space and space topics, I would just like to speculate about whether we can do it again?
Yes, a good slogan for the next 10 years is “Can we repeat it?”. And it would be perfectly fine to remove the question mark from the phrase.
So, what do we have in general?
And we have something. Yes, not God knows how much, but there is. And, starting from this, it is quite possible to collect something in orbit.
1. Module "Science".
Not for the night, to be honest, the aforementioned, ill-fated Science module. Which has been going since 1995 and still nothing. However, history We have already described the misadventures of this module more than once, so we will not repeat ourselves.
But, in essence, what is "Science"? Initially, it was a backup for the Zarya module, into which Mir-2 was transferred. Zarya became the center around which the entire ISS gathered. Why can't Nauka be the same for the Russian station? The life support system in the module is present initially, so ...
Yes, they once again tried to push Nauka into space and dock to the ISS. I think in our case it will be imprudent. The module has a resource of 10 years. ISS will be sentenced in three years. Meaning?
If I were in the place of the leadership of Roskosmos (God forbid, of course), I would find microcracks that do not allow to pass tests for leaks, rust somewhere, in short, I would simply delay the launch of Nauka into space to the maximum.
And then I would bring it out. As the initial segment of the ROSS (Russian Orbital Service Station).
Not the worst option, I think. Considering that "Science" was supposed to be launched again on April 20, 2021, and in news the tape is completely silent today - the "leak", apparently, was found.
2. Universal module "Berth"
Useful thing: 6 docking points, storage space for arriving goods. The term of work is at least 30 years. The only drawback is that the "Prichal" should dock with the "Science", it was created for it, and docking with any other module jeopardizes the normal operation of all docking stations.
The Prichal has already been assembled, tested and ready to launch. Waiting for the "Science" to be launched into space.
3. NEM-1. Scientific and energy module.
Large module, larger in volume than "Science" and "Prichal" combined. The volume of NEM-1 is 92 cubic meters. "Nauka" - 70, "Prichal" - 19. Together this is a rather serious volume of space that can be filled with equipment for research and experiments.
Together, this will amount to 181 cubic meters. For comparison: the volume of the Russian segment of the ISS is 203 cubic meters.
In addition, additional fuel tanks are planned on the module, the fuel from which will be used to adjust the station's orbit. This is a very useful option, considering that there are no such tanks on Nauka.
The module is practically assembled today. The debugging and testing will take some more time, the postponement of the NEM-1 launch from 2019 to 2025 may also play into the hands of the Russian cosmonautics.
Yes, in a peculiar way, but the case when our inability to bring projects to completion on time can play a positive role. Naturally, in the event that they are finished and launched into space.
And then indeed, at the turn of 2025, we will be able to see the Russian station in near-earth orbit. With Russian cosmonauts and scientists working exclusively in the interests of our country. Not queuing up for foreign modules on the ISS.
And yes, on the ISS it will also be possible to see what is still useful in our unit.
In general, given that the resource of the first Russian (actually Soviet) modules Zarya and Zvezda has actually been exhausted, it is really not worth holding onto the ISS. The so-called partnership in space is still experiencing tremendous pressure from politicians, so if it really makes sense to bet on international cooperation, then not with the Americans and Europeans.
It is believed that the Chinese would be much more suitable for us as partners in space. Moreover, they are making tremendous strides in space exploration.
Our country has everything to continue work in space. There is a huge baggage of Soviet developments, there are factories, not everything has yet been auctioned off and ruined by "effective managers", there are people who can work with their heads and hands, and not with their tongues.
The main disadvantage of Russian cosmonautics today is that no one is responsible for tactical failures and strategic failures. More precisely, people in charge are appointed at the very bottom. Like a storekeeper.
10 years of taunting Musk have led to the fact that Roscosmos is now in a situation of catching up in terms of reusable ships, reusable stages, lunar rockets and everything else.
Can we repeat it? Exactly?
And they won't wait for us. By 2024, I don’t know if it’s a coincidence or how, but the American company Axiom Space plans to dock the first commercial module to the American Harmony module. And a little later, two more. This is a space hotel project for tourists who are able to pay for a flight into orbit. And if the ISS project is closed, they plan to equip these modules with an independent life support system and ... and the commercial orbital station is ready.
But the Americans have the Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway (LOP-G) project, which they plan to place in orbit around the Moon. And, accordingly, to study the Moon and the specifics of long-term expeditions in space. And if the LOP-G project begins to be implemented, then naturally, there will be no talk of any funding for the ISS.
Although, of course, while a near-lunar station is being built, it is better to have something operational in orbit. Beautiful plans for the future, you know, have the peculiarity of not coming true.
But we shouldn't look back at Americans or Europeans. Not worth it at all. Roscosmos has too many problems associated with the creation of its own orbital station and the continuation of work on the exploration of near space. And very little time.
The year 2024, unfortunately, is very close. This is not a story that in 2035 or 2050 we will grow cucumbers on the Moon or Mars. We will not have time to look back at such a pace, and the ISS will already begin its sliding from orbit towards the Pacific Ocean.
And the main thing here is that the Russian space structures were ready for this moment not in words, but in deeds. So that, firstly, all cosmic perspectives do not end up in the same place as the Mir station, and secondly, so that in orbit there will be something that will continue what was begun sixty years ago.
So can we repeat it, or what?