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MLM (Nauka)

MLM [NASA]

MLM (Mnogozelewoi Laboratorny Modul, Multipurpose Laboratory Module) is a new multipurpose module of the russian segment of the International space station ISS. MLM is built using the module, which was once slated to become the UDM (Universal Docking Module), which was in turn modified from the FGB-2 module, which was the back up of the central FGB module.

The MLM module will accommodate both service systems for the Russian segment of the ISS and scientific payloads. The European-built ERA manipulator and the DMS-R multifunction computer will also be installed onboard.

The effort to build FGB 2 as a back-up for FGB 1 dates back to 1995 when the top managers of the Khrunichev Space Center decided to engage in this project using the Center's budget, almost in parallel with creating the Functional Cargo Module Zarya, the first element of the ISS. In compliance with Rosaviacosmos Decision dated February 16, 2004, on “Implementation of abbreviated ISS configuration”  as well as the Federal Space Agency Decision dated 20 July 2004, on “Multipurpose Lab Module (MLM) implementation process using the FGB 2 backlog”, the MLM was included in the Russian Segment Configuration on the nadir port of Zarya Module.

The target date for the completion of MLM as defined in the MLM Program Schedule is late 2007. At present, the MLM's detailed profile has been finalized based on streamlined design parameters proceeding from the need to reduce the cost and time to be spent on building the Russian Segment of the ISS while making the most of the hardware backlog and potential investment from foreign partners and commercial customers. Following final definition of the MLM Design Specification within the abbreviated Russian Segment configuration of the ISS, it will take two years to implement modifications. As per the ISS RS abbreviated configuration the FGB 2-based MLM is to support further ISS RS deployment providing docking ports to transportation vehicles and research modules as well as accommodating payloads, providing stowage capability, etc.

The MLM should be capable of supporting commercial projects to the degree possible so as to outsource off-budget funding including investments to be used to complete and commission the module.
Following are the requirements set for the FGB 2-based MLM as derived from the input data:

  • Provide a port for Soyuz-TM, Progress-M Vehicles and their modifications as well as for research modules to be able to dock in either automatic or manual (TORU – Teleoperator Control Mode) mode.
  • Support propellant transfer from Progress Vehicles into the SM and FGB tanks.
  • Support the ISS attitude control with regard to roll using its own jets.
  • Provide room to accommodate ERA Robotic Arm, provide footprints for external experiments and for a cargo pallet, install probes for stowage and maintenance of the upmassed payloads.

Main Functions:

  • Provide a port to dock a Soyuz-TMA or Progress-M supply vehicle or a research modul
  • Provide transit lines to deliver propellants from the Progress re-supply vehicle to the Zvezda Service Module
  • Accommodate a power distribution system to collect and condition output power of the four high-voltage solar panels mounted at the modified Science-and-Power Platform.
  • Provide stowage space.
  • Accommodate, and support functioning of, the European Robotic Arm (ERA).
  • Accommodate, and support functioning of, research instruments.
  • Accommodate Space Shuttle-delivered stowage platform.

Functions to Support Russian Segment:

  • Control roll maneuvers
  • Provide a port to attach supply vehicles
  • Deliver the ERA to orbit, provide space to position ERA connection points during extra-vehicular activities (EVA) and support ERA on-orbit operations

Originally scheduled for 2009, the launch of the MLM module has been delayed several times. In 2013 a leak in the propulsion system was found, postponing the launch to November 2015.

Nation: Russia
Type / Application: Space Station module
Operator: Rosaviakosmos
Contractors: GKNPTs Khrunichev
Equipment:
Configuration: TKS Type
Propulsion:
Power: 2 deployable solar arrays, batteries
Lifetime: 15 years
Mass: 20300 kg
Orbit: 400 km × 400 km, 51.6 (typical)
Satellite COSPAR Date LS Launch Vehicle Remarks
MLM (Nauka, ex UDM ex FGB 2) - 2015 TB Proton-M

References: