The cosmonauts of the Russian segment of the International Space Station (ISS) have begun to prepare the Pirs module for undocking. The module will be undocked from the station with the help of the Progress MS-16 cargo spacecraft, Roscosmos reports.
“The Pirs docking module, which will be replaced by the new multipurpose laboratory module Nauka, is planned to be undocked by the Progress MS-16 cargo vehicle from the International Space Station on July 23 at 16:17 Moscow time. It will be flooded in the Pacific Ocean after about four hours,” the message from the space corporation said.
Interestingly, the Progress MS-16 cargo vehicle is dubbed after the main character of the Russian classic story "Mumu" by Ivan Turgenev - "Gerasim".
In July, Roscosmos announced that the launch of Nauka (Science) module to the Russian segment of the ISS was scheduled for July 21. Reserve dates are set for July 22 and 23. Nauka is to dock the ISS on July 29 (if launched on July 21).
In April, Roscosmos chief Dmitry Rogozin said that the Russian state corporation, after leaving the ISS project, could deliver the Russian segment of the orbital laboratory to NASA. According to Rogozin, the Russian segment of the station is 80 percent worn out, and its maintenance "will require approximately the same funds that would be required to deploy a separate national Russian orbital station from 2025.