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Let's assume that for some reason Russians wants to have a space station on their own, thus to separate their part from the rest of ISS. Would that be even possible without much of work?

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  • $\begingroup$ I smell billions of dollars in order to make this happen $\endgroup$ Apr 30 at 11:10
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The two segments are tightly intertwined. But the Russian segment is more independent and could potentially survive on its own.

The US Segment would need a new control module to replace the Russian segment which does not exist today. Whereas the Russian segment would be able to survive on its own, just at reduced power levels, since it gets a lot of its power from the US segment arrays.

Going forward with real plans, versus hypotheticals, the plan for Russia is with the Nauka module (MLM) launch summer 2021 (was supposed to launch as far back as the early 2000's so we shall see if it happens) using the nadir (down facing port) on Zarya (where Pirs is right now) to form the core of their new space station.

Nauka from RussiaSpaceweb.com

Following that the UM, Node module, a ball shaped module with 6 docking ports will be launched, with two or more modules docked to it in the future.

UM image from Russiaspaceweb.com

Those new modules could separate on their own and act as an independent station. When the ISS is officially retired, the Russian plan is to separate and operate Nauka/OM as the base of their next station.

ISS with new modules, from RussiaSpaceweb.com

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  • $\begingroup$ " a lot of its power from the US segment arrays" like 100% $\endgroup$ Apr 30 at 12:20
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    $\begingroup$ The problem with this answer (and the problem with Russia's threats to separate from the USOS) is that the US bought Zarya from Russia. Besides, the attachment between Zarya and Unity is more or less permanent and is an ugly mess. Disconnecting the ROS and USOS PMA-1 would be highly problematic technically, monetarily, and politically. Disconnecting after Zarya would be just as messy; Russia would have to launch an independent Zarya replacement, disconnect multiple modules from Zarya, and reconnect them to the Zarya replacement. It does not help that Russia does not have a robotic arm. $\endgroup$ Apr 30 at 12:27
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    $\begingroup$ @DavidHammen True on Zarya's ownership. But Nauka is basically the backup for Zarya and will serve the same role. (Note I did NOT say they would take Zvezda and Zarya, only Nauka and down if they seperated). $\endgroup$
    – geoffc
    Apr 30 at 13:52
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    $\begingroup$ @DanIsFiddlingByFirelight Alas, solar panels get degraded in orbit and the Russian panels are now 20+ years old for the most part. WHich is why after Nakua/UM, the next modules are solar power modules. $\endgroup$
    – geoffc
    Apr 30 at 17:05
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    $\begingroup$ @DanIsFiddlingByFirelight They are much reduced in power output, and the coming CRS-24 mission is bringing up the first replacement array. The Russian ones have degraded, and if they were on tehir own, would be insufficient. But since they can barter electricty for services (Progress/Soyuz/etc) it is all fine. $\endgroup$
    – geoffc
    Apr 30 at 18:05
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It is possible if it has to be done, but it's very unlikely since the modules are becoming old, like Zarya, the first-ever module launched as part of ISS back in 1998 has the wear and tear during operations all these years. ROSCOSMOS is planning to launch its own space station in the next few years.

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I think that it is possible because the ISS was assemble in multiple parts meaning that each parts should have a way of closing itself to avoid exposing the interior to the vacuum of space during the assembly. Furthermore i once heard that the russian part might become an independent station when NASA will retire the iss. So i'm pretty sure it's possible but i couldn't find an article as a source so feel free to edite this post if you find an article discussing this subject.

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    $\begingroup$ Actually I think you should also ask this as a question: "Did each part of the ISS have a way of closing itself to avoid exposing the interior to the vacuum of space during the assembly?" $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Apr 30 at 10:48
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    $\begingroup$ While the Russian segment could potentially seperate and operate, the US segment would not be able to survive without the Russian segment. $\endgroup$
    – geoffc
    Apr 30 at 11:22

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