Russia launches a new scientific module to the ISS
Steph Deschamps / July 22, 2021
A Proton-M rocket carrying Russia's new Nauka scientific module to the International Space Station (ISS) blasted off Wednesday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, the Roscosmos space agency announced.
Images released by the Russian space agency show the rocket taking off at 14:58 GMT to put into orbit the first Russian module to be assembled to the ISS in 11 years.
The trip to the orbital station will last eight days: Nauka (Science in Russian) should dock on July 29 to the main module, according to Roscosmos.
The assembly of Nauka, with a total weight of 20 tons, began in the 1990s but its launch, initially planned for 2007, has been constantly delayed.
If the trip goes well, Nauka will replace after 20 years of service the Pirs module, which is expected to detach from the ISS on Friday and burn up in the Earth's atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean.
Nauka is primarily a laboratory module but it will also provide additional volumes for workstations and cargo storage, locations for water and oxygen regeneration equipment, Roscosmos said.
It will also allow to improve the living conditions of the cosmonauts, by providing an additional toilet and a third sleeping place for the Russian part of the ISS.