A permanent Russian orbiting outpost that would use the Russian sections taken from the International Space Station (ISS) may appear in space after 2020, Energia Rocket and Space Corporation president and general designer Vitaly Lopota said.
"Since it would be irrational to shut down the program of a properly functioning section of the ISS, the Energia corporation has proposed deploying a permanent Russian orbiting outpost that would use the existing modules of the ISS' Russian segment, including new ones. This project will also help realize the long-existing idea to apply the technologies of a previous orbiting station to the next, which was not done during the transition from the Mir space station to the ISS," he told Interfax-AVN on the sidelines of the MAKS-2013 international air show in the town of Zhukovsky outside Moscow on Tuesday.
"The partners currently intend to shut down the ISS program in 2020," he said.
"However, the resource of the ISS modules, which should be launched in 2014-2017, including the multirole laboratory module (MLM), the node module (UM) and the research and power generating module No. 1 (NEM-1), will not have been exhausted by that time," he said.
"The idea is to put such an orbiting outpost into operation, naturally if the government makes such a decision, using the modules, as well as scientific and other equipment from the ISS Russian segment and maintaining the normal functioning of the transportation system that operates Soyuz and Progress spacecraft, which will continue to deliver crews and cargo to the new space station and back to the Earth and will help dispose of waste and outdated equipment," Lopota said.
"The main principle of the new orbiting station will be the possibility to fully and repeatedly replace any outdated modules in order to maintain its safe and uninterrupted operation for as long as necessary - for several decades, until new missions and technological solutions require its complete overhaul," Lopota said.
"I would like to stress once again that the proposed Russian space station's core segment, made up of MLM, UM and NEM-1, might start its autonomous flight only after the partners shut down the ISS program and after a joint agreement is reached on the process of withdrawal from this program that will help ensure the safety of any further operations with the ISS in general and its individual elements," he said.
All rights reserved by Rossiyskaya Gazeta.