Author Topic: The Russian Multipurpose Laboratory Module (MLM) Updates Thread (NET 2017)  (Read 223859 times)

Offline russianhalo117

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New contract to RKK Energiya to fulfill work on MLM-U.

http://www.zakupki.gov.ru/epz/contract/contractCard/document-info.html?reestrNumber=1770236167416000008

If you look at the documents, you can see that the main part of the money will be spent in 2018... Is the december 2017 launch date really serious ?
Unless its going to be in orbit outfitting then no.

Offline Svetoslav

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Anatoly Zak reports that the sawdust contamination from 2013 has returned once again:

http://www.popularmechanics.com/space/satellites/a25773/mlm-delayed-russia/

To put it simply, this now delays the MLM launch indefinitely.

Online DaveS

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This is from Anatoly Zak: Even the old spare FGB-2 propellant tanks suffer from the same contamination problem as the primary MLM tanks, so it's on to Plan B of cutting open the tanks and cleaning them: http://russianspaceweb.com/iss-fgb2-mlm-2017.html#0404
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Online eeergo

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How did this infamous "sawdust" get in the tanks in the first place?
-DaviD-

Offline B. Hendrickx

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http://tass.ru/kosmos/4153589

Two weeks after Anatoly Zak broke the news, Russian media are now also beginning to report on the MLM's latest contamination issues. The TASS news agency quotes an unidentified space industry source as saying that according to preliminary estimates the latest problems could delay the launch until late 2018 or early 2019. Specialists have been given two weeks to assess the situation and provide recommendations to Roscosmos managers. In order to meet its December 2017 target launch date, the MLM would have had to be shipped to Baikonur last month.

The report describes the contaminant as "metal powder" resulting from the module's construction. TASS' source says the tanks may have to be cut open and then welded back together to remove the contamination and that this work would take about a year. The source also says that "all rubber (?) elements of the module have aged and no longer live up to standards". As a result of all this, no one is prepared to sign the documents to clear the module for launch. The source doesn't exclude the possibility that the launch will be cancelled altogether.  This is what some people have privately said should be done, but it's interesting to see this mentioned for the first time in a Russian media report.


Online FutureSpaceTourist

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Hmm, here's a rather different take on things:

Quote
Roscosmos head Igor Komarov, in a press conference at #33SS, says situation with MLM module for ISS “more complicated than expected.”

https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/849371089511821313

Quote
Komarov: MLM won’t be ready for launch in December as planned, but do expect it to launch in first half of 2018. #33SS

https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/849371206113472512

TASS report sounds more credible to me.

Offline Space Pete

Got to laugh at "sawdust" - is any component of MLM actually made of wood?! :o

I personally suspect that MLM will never launch. The NM and SPMs may fly, but only as part of a future post-ISS Russian station.
« Last Edit: 04/04/2017 11:51 PM by Space Pete »
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Offline robertross

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Got to laugh at "sawdust" - is any component of MLM actually made of wood?! :o

I personally suspect that MLM will never launch. The NM and SPMs may fly, but only as part of a future post-ISS Russian station.

It would be funny if it weren't so sad.

I suspect now that it won't fly (considering the seal issue)
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Offline Space Pete

BREAKING: Officials identify possible source of MLM contimination following inspection of module's factory.  :D  ;D

(Note: No offence intended toward the Russian space industry - I'd just rather laugh at this debacle than cry!)
« Last Edit: 04/05/2017 12:09 AM by Space Pete »
Electronic Engineer by day, NASASpaceflight's ISS Editor by night | Read my NASASpaceflight articles here

Offline Space Pete

On a serios note, here's some points to consider if indeed MLM never launches:

. With the RS crew reducing to two until MLM arrives on the basis that there isn't enough science on the RS without MLM to justify 3 crewmembers, would the RS crew ever increase back to three if MLM never flies?

. Will ESA seek compensation from Roscosmos for the ERA, as ERA has no means of launch (and no purpose even if it could be launched by other means) if MLM never flies?

. What happens to the MLM radiator and airlock currently attached to MRM-1?

. Will DC-1 need to be disposed of anyway, as I believe it was never designed to last as long as it already has, yet alone out to potentially 2028.

. Would Roscosmos consider launching a simple "spacer" module (i.e. a cheap, simple cylinder with no fancy systems) in place of MLM, in order to at least allow the NM/SPMs to fly? Perhaps such a module could at least include provision for the MLM airlock (already on-orbit) and ERA?

----------

Edit:

On the subject of Roscosmos wanting out of ISS:

Quote
Komarov: we are ready to discuss an extension of ISS beyond 2024, but no commitment yet.
https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/849377823357898752
« Last Edit: 04/05/2017 12:49 AM by Space Pete »
Electronic Engineer by day, NASASpaceflight's ISS Editor by night | Read my NASASpaceflight articles here

Offline woods170

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. Will ESA seek compensation from Roscosmos for the ERA, as ERA has no means of launch (and no purpose even if it could be launched by other means) if MLM never flies?
Unlikely. Upon completion of all work to get ERA ready for flight integration (and that was years ago) the flight hardware formally changed ownership. The Russians are now the owners of the ERA flight hardware. Continued development of the MPTE hardware and software is almost fully paid for by Russia as well. As far as ESA is concerned, ERA is 'done', with no hard obligation for ERA to actually fly. Actually getting ERA to orbit on 'something' would only be the proverbial cherry-on-the-cake.

. What happens to the MLM radiator and airlock currently attached to MRM-1?
Abandon in place. They remain where they are. There is no need to jettison them, much like the ERA spare elbow that is also located on MRM-1.

. Will DC-1 need to be disposed of anyway, as I believe it was never designed to last as long as it already has, yet alone out to potentially 2028.
Neither was the FGB Zarya, but it is still up there, for obvious reasons. In case MLM never flies the prime reason for disposal of DC-1 goes away.

. Would Roscosmos consider launching a simple "spacer" module (i.e. a cheap, simple cylinder with no fancy systems) in place of MLM, in order to at least allow the NM/SPMs to fly? Perhaps such a module could at least include provision for the MLM airlock (already on-orbit) and ERA?
Unlikely that Roscosmos is going to replace MLM with a simple spacer. Roscosmos is cash-strapped and that situation will worsen once CCP is operational. There is barely sufficient funds to fix the MLM problems, let alone funds to come up with a spacer-like replacement.
IMO: if and when the decision is taken to permantly ground MLM, it will mean that NM and NEM/SPM will never make it to ISS either.
« Last Edit: 04/05/2017 09:48 AM by woods170 »

Online SWGlassPit

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. Would Roscosmos consider launching a simple "spacer" module (i.e. a cheap, simple cylinder with no fancy systems) in place of MLM, in order to at least allow the NM/SPMs to fly? Perhaps such a module could at least include provision for the MLM airlock (already on-orbit) and ERA?
Unlikely that Roscosmos is going to replace MLM with a simple spacer. Roscosmos is cash-strapped and that situation will worsen once CCP is operational. There is barely sufficient funds to fix the MLM problems, let alone funds to come up with a spacer-like replacement.
IMO: if and when the decision is taken to permantly ground MLM, it will mean that NM and NEM/SPM will never make it to ISS either.

Let's be clear, even a "simple" spacer is going to be pretty expensive.  It's going to have to provide structural strength, attach mechanisms, MMOD shielding, thermal control, power and data transfer, and ventilation at an absolute bare minimum.  It is still a tens-of-millions-of-dollars class project just to design and build, let alone getting it up there and hooked up.

Offline The man in the can

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A more optimistic tweet from Anatoly Zak
Quote
#Roscosmos got a plan to salvage #ISS' #MLM/#Nauka module tanks without breaching its sealed structure. DETAILS: http://www.russianspaceweb.com/iss-fgb2-mlm-2017.html#0405
https://twitter.com/RussianSpaceWeb/status/849629579006406658

It comes with a picture off the MLM
« Last Edit: 04/06/2017 12:06 AM by The man in the can »

Online FutureSpaceTourist

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A more optimistic tweet from Anatoly Zak
Quote
#Roscosmos got a plan to salvage #ISS' #MLM/#Nauka module tanks without breaching its sealed structure. DETAILS: http://www.russianspaceweb.com/iss-fgb2-mlm-2017.html#0405
https://twitter.com/RussianSpaceWeb/status/849629579006406658

Unfortunately it appears that hasn't worked out:

Quote
GKNPTs Khrunichev drafts a new plan to salvage #MLM/#Nauka module for #ISS. DETAILS: http://russianspaceweb.com/iss-fgb2-mlm-2017.html#0417

https://twitter.com/russianspaceweb/status/854044221006901248

Offline Svetoslav

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To those who were asking how the hell the sawdust particles got there, presenting you the newest article of Anatoly Zak:

http://www.russianspaceweb.com/iss-fgb2-mlm-2013.html

Short version: Workers dismantling the pipelines thought that the module was going to be disassembled for scrap.

My reaction: facepalm
« Last Edit: 04/18/2017 07:01 PM by Svetoslav »

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