Russia is committed to starting a new stage in space without the help of third parties. After revealing that it will leave the International Space Station in 2024, Roscosmos offered the first details of ROSS, the orbital service station that will start operating in 2028. Vladimir Soloviev, chief designer of RKK Energiya — the corporation in charge of construction — said in an interview that his new station will work autonomously and will be a springboard for lunar exploration.
ROSS will operate in a sun-synchronous orbit with an altitude of 372 km from Earth and an inclination of 96.9 degrees. According to Soloiev, the choice of this orbit is due to the fact that it will allow a broader view of Russia and other territoriesas well as conducting biomedical research of the human body in orbit.
The new orbital service station will help understand the dangers astronauts will face on future space missions. It will also be able to monitor both poles of the Earth every hour and a half with the help of optical, infrared, ultraviolet detectors and other instruments.
According to Russia, this orbit offers them more advantages compared to the ISS, since the 51.6 degrees at which they currently fly only allows them to see the nadir of just 10% of Russian territory.
ROSS will operate autonomously, without a crew
Unlike the International Space Station, ROSS will be built with autonomy in mind. The director of RKK Energiya indicated that they seek to make this station more technically advanced and efficient in terms of research. Soloviev points out that one of the current limitations is the astronaut since it represents a very high cost to have it in space.
Feeding, providing oxygen and water to the crew is quite expensive. In addition, flights outside the Earth’s magnetosphere increase the radiation dose for astronauts, which somewhat reduces the allowable duration of missions.
Although ROSS will operate autonomously for a long time, will be able to receive manned flights. But before reaching that point, Russia will have to get all the systems up and running, and that will require the work of cosmonauts. While calculations still need to be done to determine the maximum time they can spend in space, Soloviev said a month or two would have no health impact.
How Russia’s new space station will be built
Russia will build its orbital fueling station in two stages. The first of these will begin in 2028 with the launch of the NEM and a module with six docking nodes with the help of an Angara A5M rocket. Subsequently, solar panels and batteries will be sent to ensure sufficient energy to carry out observations and radar experiments.
The First manned mission to depart from Bainkonur Cosmodrome in 2028, once the nodal module docks. Soloviev confirmed that they will make two manned voyages per year during the construction stage. The ROSS will have two cabins and a bathroom that will be enough to accommodate four cosmonauts.
Soloviev confirmed that ROSS will operate in conjunction with the International Space Stationl, at least for two years.
We need to continue operating the ISS until we create a more or less tangible buildup for ROSS. Although the ISS and the ROSS will fly in orbits with different inclinations and it will not be possible to fly from one station to another, we can ensure the efficient operation of both the Russian segment of the ISS and the ROSS.
The second stage will begin in 2030 with the shipment of two modules for research, as well as a pressurized platform to maintain space vehicles. According to the chief designer of Energiya, with this platform they could tow satellites or stranded ships to refuel them and return them to orbit.
ROSS would be a “springboard” for manned flights to the Moon and Mars
Vladimir Soloviev, who is also flight director of the Russian segment of the International Space Station, assured that creating your new space station is a necessary step before a lunar mission. While NASA and others have their sights set on the Moon, Russia believes they must first conduct research with automatic devices.
“It is irrational to just put the Russian flag on the moon, spending huge amounts of money on it,” he said. Soloviev believes that with political will and sufficient fundingROSS can be used as a base to build a space complex on the Moon or Mars.
The station would allow to implement schemes of two launches, where the crew would await the arrival of the upper stage to make a trip to the Moon. This would reduce the need for superheavy rockets or more expensive launch vehicles. Russia contemplates the use of reusable ships and even ROSS becomes a kind of spaceport.
For now everything is on paper and we will have to wait several years to confirm whether Russia’s plans in space materialize.
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.