By: Erik Madaus
On November 24 at 13:06 UTC, a Soyuz 2.1B launched the Prichal module towards the International Space Station. Just over nine minutes after launch, Prichal separated from the third stage of the Soyuz rocket, deployed its solar panels and antennas, and began its two-day trip toward the ISS.
This particular Soyuz rocket used the large four-meter ST-type fairing to accommodate the size of the new docking module. Prichal launched attached to a modified Soyuz service module since it has no power or propulsion of its own. This is similar to the launches of Pirs and Poisk last decade, though those smaller modules used the standard size fairing also used for launches of Progress resupply spacecraft. The entire spacecraft including the docking node and service module is called Progress M-UM, and it will deliver 700 kilograms of supplies to the station inside Prichal.
After two days of catching up to the ISS, Prichal will dock to the ISS at the nadir port of the Nauka module. Prichal is only the second spacecraft to dock to this port, after Progress MS-17 last month.
Prichal, or “Berth”, brings with it five more docking ports to the Russian segment of the station, which will be used to dock Soyuz and Progress spacecraft and even additional modules. The latter is possible because Prichal is at the end of Nauka, and this is enough separation to not interfere with the rest of the station. Possibly two more modules will be added later in the 2020s. The Soyuz service module will undock from Prichal and deorbit itself later this month.