Taking the ERA robotic arm with it, the Naouka module is preparing to reach the ISS where it should dock on July 29. Its take-off was carried out successfully from the Russian Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
On social networks, the Russian space agency Roscosmos welcomed on July 21 a “historic event” after the Naouka module successfully reached outer space. Using its own engines, it is now heading to the International Space Station (ISS) where its docking is scheduled for July 29 at 4:26 p.m. Moscow time.
For now, Naouka (“science” in Russian) has separated as planned from the upper stage of the Proton-M rocket which, ten minutes earlierhad taken it off from the Russian Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
As the Tass agency reports, Naouka is a multifunctional laboratory module intended for the implementation of the Russian program of scientific research and experiments on board the ISS. After its mooring at the station, the Russian segment will therefore have “additional space to equip workstations, store cargo and accommodate water and oxygen regeneration equipment,” Tass added. “This is a mini space station. [Naouka] can be used as a back-up solution by the ISS if the Russians decide to separate the Russian part of the station, ”explains the French specialist press.
The Russian module takes with it the European robotic arm ERA which, at its eleven meters long, will allow certain operations to be carried out around the ISS without spacewalks, in addition to the robotic arm Canadarm2 already installed on the station.
“The most important Russian launch of this year”
Notably, the first construction plans for Naouka date back to the 1990s, when the Russian segment of the ISS already included several research facilities complementary to the Zaria and Zvezda modules. Suffice to say that the launch was expected, as evidenced by the enthusiasm of the professionals who followed the operation during the day. “This is the most important Russian launch day of this year,” for example tweeted the Russian aerospace specialist. Katia Pavliushchenko. “A historic day in which I no longer dared to believe: today, launch at 4:58 pm (French time) of Naouka, a module of the ISS whose construction started in the 90s. top of this Proton-M! ”commented the author of the YouTube channel. Space Techniques.
From the ISS, French astronaut Thomas Pesquet also commented on the event on social media. “I will miss the view from DC1… It will give way to the MLM Lab (also called Naouka) which was launched today and is coming next week,” he wrote on Twitter.
The Proton-M, which powered the Naouka module from Baikonur, is a Russian unrecoverable launcher that belongs to the family of Proton carrier rockets developed in the early 1960s. Proton rockets are used to launch various space vehicles into space. , including navigation, military and commercial satellites, as well as interplanetary automatic stations.