Khrunichev Progresses on New ISS Multipurpose Lab Module

While the American part of the International Space Station is largely complete, Russia is continuing work on expanding its capabilities. Below is a brief press release from Khrunichev website about a new module set for launch next year followed by a detailed description.

MOSCOW (Khrunichev PR) — In the Khrunichev Space Center, work is continuing for the flight of the multifunction products laboratory module (MLM) for the International Space Station.

To date, the docking port has been installed on the transition chamber….Equipment layouts for the board layout and the cable network have been installed inside the module. Tests on the temperature control system and the pneumatic hydraulic systems have been undertaken.

After the completion fabrication and assembly of flight products (planned before the end of 2012), the MLM will be transferred to the RSC “Energia” for further comprehensive tests.

Launch on a Russian “Proton” rocket is scheduled for 2013.

FGB-based Multipurpose Lab Module (MLM)

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” approved by Yu.N. Koptev, Director General, Rosaviacosmos, as well as the Federal Space Agency Decision dated July 20, 2004, on “Multipurpose Lab Module (MLM) implementation process using the FGB 2 backlog”, approved by A.N. Perminov, the Head of the Federal Space Agency, the MLM was included in the Russian Segment Configuration on the nadir port of Zarya Module.

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.

Main Specifications

Liftoff mass20,300 kg
Parking orbit :
max Altitude
min Altitude
350 km
185 km

 Main Functions

  • Provide a port to dock a supply vehicle or a research module
  • 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.

Potential Commercial Applications

  • Provide stowage capacities
  • Deliver cargo to orbit
  • Provide services related to transmission, storage or processing of payload output data
  • Provide a downlink channel
  • Grow available power by adding new solar arrays
  • Provide interfaces to internal payloads
  • Provide interfaces to external payloads
  • Support air lock operations involving payloads
  • Accommodate and ensure functioning of a life support system for a 3-strong crew
  • Accommodate living quarters

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