Nauka approaches the International Space Station for docking. Credit: Roscosmos
The Russian Multipurpose Laboratory Module Nauka, delayed by nearly 15 years, has finally docked with the International Space Station.
Docking took place at 9:29 a.m. EDT (13:29 UTC) July 29, 2021, at the space-facing port of the Zvezda module. This came some eight days after launching atop a Proton-M rocket on July 21 from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
“Congratulations, that was not an easy docking,” radioed Russian mission control in Moscow to the two cosmonauts aboard the ISS.
A docked Nauka module as seen through a window in the Zvezda module. Credit: Roscosmos
Over the next several hours, the two cosmonauts aboard the ISS, Expedition 65 flight engineers Oleg Novitsky and Pyotr Dubrov, are expected to verify various connections and perform leak checks between the ISS hatch and the new module.
Nauka is 20 metric tons and is 43 feet (13 meters) long and 14 feet (4.2 meters) wide. It’s nearly identical to the Zarya module.
Inside is an additional 2,500 cubic feet (70 cubic meters) of habitable volume for ISS crews. In addition to laboratory space, it includes a third Russian-segment sleep station as well as an additional toilet.