Russia successfully delivers its 'Nauka' laboratory upgrade module to the ISS

Russia successfully delivers its 'Nauka' laboratory upgrade module to the ISS
Russia successfully delivers its 'Nauka' laboratory upgrade module to the ISS

The International Space Station (ISS) received a new module Thursday when Russia docked its 22-ton Nauka Multipurpose Laboratory Module at 9:29am ET – the first time in a decade that a new part has been sent to the floating space lab.

Nauka, which means 'science' in Russian' launched on July 21 atop a Russian Proton rocket. This rocket also carried the new European Robotic Arm, or ERA, a 16-foot-long two-handed robot that can move freely outside of the ISS.

After eight days in free-flight, the uncrewed 43-foot-long module linked up to the port on the Earth-facing Russian segment of the ISS.

Nauka will be a new science facility, docking port and spacewalk airlock for future operations, along with providing additional crew quarters, a galley and a toilet.

The new module will occupy the area vacated by the Pirs docking compartment, with the attached Progress 77 spacecraft which had called the ISS home for the past 20 years until Monday - the crew released it from the ship and sent it into space.

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For Nauka to be prepared for operation, it will require a long series of maneuvers, including up to 11 spacewalks beginning in early September.

Its launch, initially scheduled for 2007, had been repeatedly delayed because of technical problems.

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The International Space Station (ISS) received a new module Thursday when Russia docked its 22-ton Nauka Multipurpose Laboratory Module at 9:29am ET – the first time in a decade that a new part has been sent to the space ship

The International Space Station (ISS) received a new module Thursday when Russia docked its 22-ton Nauka Multipurpose Laboratory Module at 9:29am ET – the first time in a decade that a new part has been sent to the space ship

The new modular completed  the docking process using its autonomous navigation system, along with the help of cosmonaut Oleg Novitsky, who guided it through the final approach while on the ISS.

'Congratulations, that was not an easy docking,' Russia's mission control radioed Novitsky, who used a remote system from on the space station.

Russian crewmembers on the ISS have done two spacewalks to connect cables in preparation for Nauka's arrival. 

NASA commentator Rob Navias said the new module 'will provide roll control for the International Space Station; it will provide propellant transfer between the Progress vehicles — the unpiloted cargo ships — that will arrive in the months and years to come; and it will serve as a docking port for piloted Soyuz and unpiloted Progress vehicles.' 

Nauka, which means 'science,' launched on July 21 atop a Russian Proton rocket (pictured), which also carried the new European Robotic Arm, or ERA, a 16-foot-long two-handed robot that can move freely outside of the ISS

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Nauka, which means 'science,' launched on July 21 atop a Russian Proton rocket (pictured), which also carried the new European Robotic Arm, or ERA, a 16-foot-long two-handed robot that can move freely outside of the ISS

Nauka will be a new science facility, docking port and spacewalk airlock for future operations, along with provide additional crew quarters, a galley and toilet. Pictured is the module preparing for launch

Nauka will be a new science facility, docking port and spacewalk airlock for future operations, along with provide additional crew quarters, a galley and toilet. Pictured is the module preparing for launch

'It will also serve as a docking port for a node module — a multi-hatched docking

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