Author Topic: The Russian Multipurpose Laboratory Module (MLM) Updates Thread (NET 2018)  (Read 320381 times)

Offline owais.usmani

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It's been April since the last update. Are we still two years away, or are we now a year and five months away?

February 2017 is the current official launch date.

Offline woods170

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It's been April since the last update. Are we still two years away, or are we now a year and five months away?

February 2017 is the current official launch date.
Confirmed by industry sources as an official NET. However, signals are coming in from contractors that the folks at Khrunichev have (and there is that quote again) "zero confidence in that date". Khrunichev workbees working on a schedule that has MLM launch in december 2017.

Understood from one source that the refit sees a 50 percent rebuild of the MLM module.
« Last Edit: 12/22/2014 03:00 PM by woods170 »

Offline e of pi

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Wow. So it's stopped slipping one year per year and is now slipping a year and ahalf per year? Sheesh.

Offline woods170

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Wow. So it's stopped slipping one year per year and is now slipping a year and ahalf per year? Sheesh.
No, this is not some slip. We're talking a partial rebuild of the module. It's been stripped down to the bare pressure hull, with most of the external systems hardware having been removed. The faulty fueling system has been ripped out and is being completely rebuild. Most of the faulty wiring has been pulled as well. The wiring harness is being rebuild too.
« Last Edit: 12/22/2014 03:05 PM by woods170 »

Offline Space Pete

I defies belief how a company with so much experience building space station modules (Khrunichev) could spend so long on the MLM, and still get it so catastrophically wrong.

If Russia really is going to pull out of the ISS in 2020, then they might as well not bother launching MLM to the ISS at all, and instead use it as the base for a new station.
« Last Edit: 12/22/2014 07:14 PM by Space Pete »
NASASpaceflight ISS Editor

Offline Danderman

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I should repeat that the MLM is not really suited as a hab module, it is basically a storage tunnel that will be fitted with a toilet.  In the storage area would be some scientific equipment, in racks, but the TKS design wasn't intended for more than a short stay by a crew, similar to Tiangong-1.


Offline owais.usmani

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It's been April since the last update. Are we still two years away, or are we now a year and five months away?

February 2017 is the current official launch date.
Confirmed by industry sources as an official NET. However, signals are coming in from contractors that the folks at Khrunichev have (and there is that quote again) "zero confidence in that date". Khrunichev workbees working on a schedule that has MLM launch in december 2017.

Understood from one source that the refit sees a 50 percent rebuild of the MLM module.

Well I was reading Anatoly Zak website and this caught my eye:

http://www.russianspaceweb.com/vshos.html

Quote
At the heart of the latest plan is the botched construction of the Multi-purpose Laboratory Module, MLM, the Russia's next big piece of the International Space Station, ISS. After many years of delays, the price tag for the MLM project ballooned to one billion rubles, however the all-but-completed module had to be grounded until at least 2017 due to severe quality control problems during its manufacturing at GKNPTs Khrunichev in Moscow. Repairs of the module were estimated at another billion rubles and GKNPTs Khrunichev was expected to cover this cost from its own reserves. However, the nearly bankrupt company came back with an announcement that it already owed around a billion Euro and would not be able to pay for the future work. Even if repaired and successfully launched, the MLM module, which would have taken more than two decades to build, could arrive at the ISS on the eve of its retirement.

As an alternative, Russian space officials came up with a new scheme to build a whole new station around the MLM, instead of launching it to the ISS. The project with an estimated price tag from four to five billion rubles would cover a five-year delay in the construction of the ISS. The new Russian station would also utilize all future Russian modules, which were expected to follow MLM to the ISS, such as the Node Module, UM; the Science and Power Module, NEM; an Inflatable Habitat, and the OKA-T laboratory.

Offline Ronpur50

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Re: Will the Russian MLM Ever Actually be Launched?
« Reply #507 on: 01/14/2015 01:05 PM »
According to schemes available in L2 documents, the docking system seems to be new. It looks like an APAS, but with four spade-shaped guides instead of three.

I join a snapshot from a L2 document. If it's a bad idea, feel free to delete.

I have been searching L2, trying to find this document that this diagram comes from.  Anyone have a link to it?  Thanks.

Offline woods170

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I defies belief how a company with so much experience building space station modules (Khrunichev) could spend so long on the MLM, and still get it so catastrophically wrong.
Let me put it this way Pete:

It defies belief how a company with so much experience building Proton rockets (Khrunichev) got the installation of the first stage angular velocity sensors catastrophically wrong.

The cause is basically the same: Khrunichev as a company has been in decay for decades. But until just a few years ago this wasn't noticed because most of the faults were caught at the eleventh hour by the older, Soviet-era workers. Now that most of those have retired the problems are manifesting themselves in a very visible manner.

If Russia really is going to pull out of the ISS in 2020, then they might as well not bother launching MLM to the ISS at all, and instead use it as the base for a new station.
IMO that is exactly what will eventually happen. Finally launching MLM less than three years before the end of ISS makes no sense at all.
« Last Edit: 01/14/2015 01:55 PM by woods170 »

Offline K-P

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If Russia really is going to pull out of the ISS in 2020, then they might as well not bother launching MLM to the ISS at all, and instead use it as the base for a new station.
IMO that is exactly what will eventually happen. Finally launching MLM less than three years before the end of ISS makes no sense at all.

And of what a great station will it be...

- using MLM as a "base" module which is was never meant to be and likely can't be (no propulsion, life support...)
- using MLM in any way with its most likely outdated technology and structure
- believing that somehow the schedule and progress of creating an independent russian station (with more responsibility and issues) is magically faster (and cheaper) than just putting up some modules to an existing station structure on ISS
- seeing the (non-)development and direction of russian space infrastructure in the last decades

MLM will never be launched, unless they must have another deep-sea research module a'la Fobos-Grunt in the Pacific...

When ISS is abandoned we will most likely have a chinese mir-class station gearing up in LEO and US/European "international" L1 Skylab2 or such station in the near-term plans.
Bigelow might have some BA330-stations in the market and in orbit for SpaceX, NASA etc.
Russia most likely has nothing. Unless they somehow manage to create some joint project. Most likely not.

When ISS goes down, so does the russian presence in space. For a few decades at least.

But hey, they always have the powerpoints and promises... Just like with MLM since 2000.

Offline npuentes

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To people with inside information, how much work is going into MLM now? In other words, is it just sitting there at Khrunichev with few or no people working on it, or is it a major effort? If there is little work, then why? What is the budget? If significant, then is it somehow not translating into salaried employees doing real development? If the delay really is to mid-2017 or worse, I would at least take some solace if there was significant progress being made.

Offline Danderman

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The latest story is the NEM would be the base module for OPSEK, bringing MLM back to the role of an auxiliary science module.

However, it is likely that Khrunichev designers (brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr) have been delaying outfitting some components of the module in anticipation of the potential new function at OPSEK. In other words, all this back and forth about OPSEK is probably having a real impact on MLM schedule.

Offline brahmanknight

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I feel sorry for the European Robotic Arm team.

Offline Bubbinski

Is there an alternate plan for getting the European robotic arm to ISS?
I'll even excitedly look forward to "flags and footprints" and suborbital missions. Just fly...somewhere.

Offline woods170

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Is there an alternate plan for getting the European robotic arm to ISS?
Negative. It's not needed anywhere else. And by what my sources are telling me it won't be needed on OPSEK either.
« Last Edit: 01/25/2015 08:57 PM by woods170 »

Offline woods170

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I feel sorry for the European Robotic Arm team.
You don't need to.
Fokker Dutch Space and it's subcontractors are already completely done with the arm, having produced a static test article, a dynamic model/development model, a WET model, and the flight model. Oh, and a good number of spare parts. All were fully paid for over a decade ago.
Same for the ground support equipment and the training equipment. The latter is being updated to a new platform and new graphics sim, but the Russians are paying most of that since the arm has been handed over to them years ago and they are the ones wanting an updated training platform.
There is only limited support from ESA for ERA, regardless of the fact that it is still considered an active ESA program. Thru-out ESA, Dutch Space and NLR, less than a dozen people are actively involved with ERA, and most of that involvement is part-time at best.
A substantial part of the folks involved with the development and construction of the arm and associated equipment have retired and are mostly not interested anymore.
ERA is basically a Russian 'problem' now, being an almost two decades old architecture.

Oh, one more thing. Under the OPSEK scenario, ERA will not be present on MLM since neither the science airlock, nor the MLM radiator will be required. The latter function would be supplied thru one of the NEM modules. And even if they were needed, there would be no way to retrieve them from their current position on the ISS - MRM module. And the Russians have already indicated that they don't have the funds to construct replacement airlock and/or radiator.
« Last Edit: 01/26/2015 08:03 AM by woods170 »

Offline Nicolas PILLET

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And is it really still needed on the ISS after 2017 ?
Nicolas PILLET
Kosmonavtika : The French site on Russian Space

Offline woods170

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And is it really still needed on the ISS after 2017 ?
Under the current scenario, with an ISS splash-date around 2021: Negative.

Offline AS_501

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If MLM launches, has anyone ever stated reservations about docking (I assume Kurs-style) such a large mass at right angles to the station's main axis?

Offline okan170

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If MLM launches, has anyone ever stated reservations about docking (I assume Kurs-style) such a large mass at right angles to the station's main axis?

I may be completely off in this, but I recall reading back through some older Shuttle threads, and during STS-130 there was mention that this is part of the reason why Node 3 is installed at Unity's port CBM and not the nadir as shown before that time. 

I'm still not clear on exactly why the move was made, but one of the reasons brought up was concern for clearance of the MLM.  Of course, now the PMM lives down at Unity's nadir, but since its planned to be moved sometime this year, I guess the larger clearance will again be available for MLM should it ever be launched.

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