Space news digest: more data from the International Space Station, a nuclear-powered lunar rover and many more

Space news digest: more data from the International Space Station, a nuclear-powered lunar rover and many more

16.12.16

NASA announced communication improvement with the ISS, Russian scientists are working on nuclear-powered lunar rover, Japanese drone successfully docked with the ISS, parachute for the “Federation” spacecraft will be ready in 6 years, the size of the future circumlunar station – find details on these topics further.

NASA improves communication with ISS

The US space agency said that soon the connection with the ISS would be much better as they will double the amount of incoming and outcoming data. This will happen due to improvements in equipment for Space Network communications, which includes a network of satellites and numerous ground stations.

The increase in transmission speed and data volume will help to implement much more ambitious projects that require more powerful communications equipment.

Russian scientists created a nuclear-powered lunar rover

Specialists from the Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences and Bauman Moscow State Technical University are developing concepts of self-propelled vehicles for exploring the Moon. One of them is a heavy lunar rover weighing up to 750 kg that in theory will not need sunlight to operate, as scientists plan to provide it with nuclear electricity generator. Thus, the lunar rover will be able to work in the subpolar areas of the Moon.

In addition to the generator, the new lunar rover will have solar batteries, a drill for taking soil samples from a depth of 1.5 meters, all kinds of equipment for research purposes and seismic activity stations that will be set on the Moon during movement.

Japanese drone Kounotori 6 has successfully docked with the ISS

Unmanned aerial vehicle Kounotori 6, designed by the Japanese developers to deliver goods, has successfully docked with the ISS. The shuttle was launched on December 9 and docked on December 13. The UAV delivered about six tons of cargo to the station, including drinking water, food, a variety of household items, batteries and seven small satellites.

In addition to the delivery mission, Kounotori 6 has another important task. Initially it was designed to clean up the orbit of our planet of space debris. Therefore, after undocking, the drone will pass through some tests. First, it will release the junk object weighing 20 kg and then hit it with electric current in order to forward the object to the Earth's atmosphere where it will get burnt.

“Federation” spacecraft will have parachute in 2023

Parachute for the "Federation" spacecraft is being designed by the specialists of Scientific and research institute of parachute design and production. The modelboard of the product was created last year and now engineers have six years to implement the project at the commission of Roscosmos. It is planned to produce about 40 parachute systems that will allow conducting full-fledged flight tests before the decisive experiment in real-world conditions.

The International circumlunar station will be much smaller than the ISS

The term of the ISS operation has not yet exactly determined. It is either until 2024, or 2028. In any case, it will be replaced be the International circumlunar station, which will develop technologies for lunar and deep space exploration. For now, the design features of the new station are under discussion. However, currently the working group agreed upon its size - 3-4 units only. As a reminder, the ISS consists of fifteen modules, five of which belong to Russia.

Ekaterina Tkachenko

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