“There is contact !!!
After almost 15 years of delay and technical setbacks, the new Russian science module Nauka successfully docked with the International Space Station (ISS) on Thursday, Dmitry Rogozin, director of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, announced on Twitter.
This is 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 said in a statement, adding that the operation had taken place. took place at 4:29 p.m. Moscow time (3:29 p.m. in Paris), three minutes after the scheduled time.
Welcome to the space station, Nauka!
The Multipurpose Laboratory Module (MLM) successfully docked at 9:29 am EDT.
- International Space Station (@Space_Station) July 29, 2021
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.
Nauka ("science" 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.
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With a total weight of 20 tons for an interior volume of 70 m3 - which makes it one of the largest on the ISS -, the module began to be assembled during the 1990s but its launch, initially planned for 2007, has been constantly delayed.
Like other Russian space projects, it suffered from funding problems, bureaucratic mistakes and technical problems.
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.