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Astronauts open hatch to new Russian module on ISS

The Russian-built Mini-Research Module-1, or Rassvet. NASA photo

NEW DELHI (BNS): Space shuttle crews have for the first time opened transfer hatches between new Russian scientific module Rassvet and International Space Station Zarya.

Also known as Mini-Research Module 1, Rassvet was transported to the station by Atlantis and installed by Mission Specialists Garrett Reisman and Piers Sellers using the station’s Canadarm2. It will be permanently attached to the bottom port of the station’s Zarya module.

Cosmonauts will begin unloading the module which delivered about 1,400 kg of various cargo supplies on Friday.

Rassvet will host a wide variety of biotechnology and biological science experiments and fluid physics and educational research. It also will provide an additional docking port for Russian Soyuz and Progress vehicles at the space station, a NASA statement said.

“Rassvet provides important new real estate for experiments to be conducted on the space station, and will be a cornerstone of Russian laboratory facilities for years to come," said Julie Robinson, International Space Station program scientist at Johnson Space Center in Houston.

"This new module enhances the station's research capabilities and enables new investigations to be performed," she said.

The module contains a pressurized compartment with eight workstations equipped with facilities such as a glovebox to keep experiments separated from the in-cabin environment; two incubators to accommodate high- and low-temperature experiments; and a vibroprotective platform to protect payloads and experiments from onboard vibrations.

The module also contains four other workstations, complete with mechanical adapters, to install payloads into roll-out racks and shelves.

"Our science capabilities are going to be greater than ever on the space station," said Igor Sorokin, deputy head of the Space Station Utilization Center at S P Korolev Rocket and Space Corporation Energia.

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