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Russian Orbital Station, ROS

In early 2020, Russian engineers completed a proposal for a modular Earth-orbiting outpost, which could succeed the International Space Station, ISS, and provide the nation's space program with a back-up destination in case Moscow's lunar ambitions wither due to lack of funding or political will.


The architecture of the Russian Orbital Station, ROS. Subscribers: click names for access to detailed info on the contemporary status of each element. New readers: click "INSIDER CONTENT" to subscribe.


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OPSEK: Earliest concept of the Russian successor to the ISS

In April 2001, the Russians, still shaken by the painful demise of the Mir space station, were facing a row with NASA over its objection to flying wealthy tourists to the ISS in order to obtain extra cash during the most difficult years of the country's economic transition. In the midst of the brouhaha, the head of the Russian space agency, Yuri Koptev, made the first public statement about a small Russian space station as a successor to the ISS.


VShOS: Russian orbital station gets new impetus

On December 15, 2014, answering questions from journalists at the end of an annual press-conference, the head of Roskosmos, Oleg Ostapenko said that the agency had been considering options for the development of the High-Latitude Orbital Station, also known by its Russian abbreviation as VShOS.


ROS: Engineers begin looking at the station concept

RKK Energia, the nation's premier manned spacecraft contractor, reported that it had delivered the Technical Assignment for the future station to TsNIIMash, the main expert and certification center of the Russian space industry in October 2016. TsNIIMash was expected to review the specifications and submit them to the leadership at the Roskosmos State Corporation, which oversees the industry.


2020: Concept evolves (INSIDER CONTENT)

During 2017, the concept of the cis-lunar station made major strides toward leaving a drawing board. In October, US Vice President Mike Pence seemingly came very close to endorsing the project in a major space policy announcement.


Russia mulls new station design to compete in commercial race (INSIDER CONTENT)

In the 2020 study, Russian strategists provided a set of fresh justifications for the construction of a new Russian Earth-orbiting outpost, drafted its new possible architecture and technical capabilities as well as outlined different scenarios for its deployment in orbit. The plan also revisited various concepts of transport vehicles for the re-supply of the future station.


NEW, Dec. 10: Rationale for the ROSS concept (INSIDER CONTENT)

Proponents of the future Russian outpost to succeed the International Space Station push forward some really exotic, if not bizarre, ideas to justify the concept along with more traditional uses.





Multi-purpose Laboratory Module, MLM

The construction of the Russian Orbital Station depended on the launch of the Multi-Purpose Laboratory module, MLM Nauka (science). As of 2020, its long-delayed launch to the International Space Station, ISS, was expected in 2021. The Nauka will serve as the "border-line" module, connecting future Russian station to the old Russian Segment of ISS.


Node Module, UM

The so-called "Uzlovoi Module" or Node Module will play a role of the hub of the future Russian station, make the life span of the new outpost essentially unlimited, as long as new modules replace the old ones.


Science and Power Module, NEM

The Science and Power Module, NEM, also planned to be delivered to the ISS first, will mark the transition of the Russian spacecraft to a new-generation spacecraft, which can later became a basis for near-Earth and deep-space applications. The NEM will provide necessary power and other capabilities needed for the independent operation of the post-ISS outpost.


Gyroscopic Module (INSIDER CONTENT)

Eyeing a possible life for the Russian Segment after the deorbiting of the International Space Station, ISS, engineers at RKK Energia proposed a new module designed to give the post-ISS station the capability to stir itself in space without use of propellant.


Airlock Module, ShM

While planning for the expansion of the Russian segment of the International Space Station, ISS, in the second half of 2000s, engineers at RKK Energia conceived a new Airlock Module, ShM, which would replace a Docking Compartment, SO, currently used for spacewalks. The new design also evolved to support the orbital assembly of deep-space vehicles.


An inflatable module, TM

Half a century after Aleksei Leonov floated into open space through the inflatable airlock, the company that built his spacecraft, has jump-started work on multi-layered inflatable structures. In its annual report for 2012, RKK Energia said that the new project might pave the way for a new generation of space station modules, interplanetary spacecraft and planetary bases.


All articles and illustrations inside this section by Anatoly Zak unless stated otherwise.

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Last update: December 10, 2020

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