The new space unit Pritchal, from Russiasuccessfully docked with the International Space Station (IS) on Friday (26), becoming the second spacecraft of its kind that Moscow has put into orbit this year, after Naoka.
The procedure was carried out automatically, according to the space agency Roscosmos, which released images of the unit floating in space with blue oceans and white clouds of the Earth in the background. See the video above.
“Once the waterproofing checks are completed, the Russian crew members will open the transitional gates and carry out final operations,” the agency explained.
The Pritchal (platform, in Russian) took off on Wednesday with a Soyuz 2.1B rocket from space – the launch area – in Baikonur, Kazakhstan.
“Today we can say that the Russian part of the International Space Station has been completed,” Roscosmos director Dmitry Rogozin said in a statement.
The cosmonauts – as the Russian cosmonauts are called – will now connect Pritchal to the International Space Station for a spacewalk scheduled for January 19, and on March 18, their first manned spacecraft, Soyuz MS-21, will dock there.
In addition to the four-ton unit, the mission also delivered nearly 700 kilograms of supplies and equipment to the International Space Station.
Pritchal will serve as the permanent docking center for the Russian portion of the International Space Station alongside the Nauka (Science in Russian), a science unit whose launch has been delayed for nearly 15 years due to technical issues.
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