After almost 15 years of delay and technical setbacks, the new Russian science module Nauka successfully docked to the International Space Station (ISS) on Thursday, the Russian space agency Roscosmos announced on Thursday (July 29th).
Read also: War in space: the allies are getting organized
Confirmed contact of the Nauka multipurpose laboratory module with the Zvezda service module of the International Space Station,
" Roscosmos said on his Twitter account.
There is contact !!!
“, For his part wrote on Twitter the director of Roscosmos, Dmitri Rogozin, to welcome the first docking of a Russian module to the ISS in 11 years.
According to telemetry data and reports from the ISS crew, the onboard systems of the station and the Nauka module are functioning normally,
" the space agency then said in a statement, specifying that the operation is taking place. took place at 4:29 p.m. Moscow time (13:29 GMT), three minutes after the scheduled time.
A 20-ton module
Several months and a series of extra-vehicular outings will still be necessary to make Nauka fully operational and integrated into the ISS.
This scientific module took off with a Proton-M rocket on July 21 from the Russian Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
The launch was closely scrutinized by the European Space Agency (ESA), Nauka taking with it one of its equipment, the ERA robotic arm which will be installed outside the module.
" in Russian) is primarily a laboratory module but it will also provide "
additional volumes for workstations and cargo storage, places for water regeneration equipment and oxygen
”, according to Roscosmos.
With a total weight of 20 tons for an interior volume of 70 m3 (which makes it one of the largest of the ISS), the module began to be assembled during the 1990s but its launch, initially planned in 2007, has been constantly delayed.
Like other Russian space projects, it suffered from funding problems, bureaucratic mistakes and technical problems.
To read also: Militarization of space: "We must define standards of responsible behavior"
Nauka replaces the Pirs module, which detached from the ISS on Monday before burning up on re-entering the Earth's atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean. Pirs had joined the orbital station in 2011 and was only due to have been in service for five years, but the delays of his replacement had forced Roscosmos to extend his life.