A new multifunctional laboratory module Nauka (Science), which is expected to be launched to the International Space Station in 2020, will be transported from Moscow’s Khrunichev space research center to the RSC Energia for pre-flight tests in August, Dmitry Rogozin, chief of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, wrote on his official Twitter account on Saturday.
“The multifunctional laboratory module Nauka will leave the workshops of Khrunichev center this August and will be taken to RSC Energia [the Korolev Rocket and Space Corporation] to undergo pre-flight tests,” Rogozin wrote.
The decision was made at a meeting with chief designers, he added. “The work on the multifunctional laboratory module has been put back on track,” he said.
Development of the Nauka module began back in 1995. It was initially planned to be launched to the ISS as a Zarya substitute. The launch was repeatedly suspended. In December 2013, the module was sent back to the Khrunichev research center due to a problem in the engine system. The Khrunichev Center and RSC Energia have teamed up to work on the module.
Earlier, Rogozin said that the launch of the module was scheduled for summer of 2020.
The Nauka module has a launch weight of over 20 tonnes and can accommodate up to 3 tonnes of scientific equipment. The module is designed to provide a docking port for Soyuz and Progress spacecraft, ensure the pumping of fuel from Progress spacecraft’s fuel tanks to the ISS and take care of the station’s roll control with the help of engines. The module is also expected to generate oxygen for six people and regenerate water from urine.