After nearly 15 years of delays and technical setbacks, the Russian space agency Roscosmos announced on Thursday that the new Russian science module spacecraft has successfully arrived with the International Space Station (ISS).
Roscosmos confirmed on his Twitter account that he had “confirmed the introduction of the naval multipurpose laboratory module with the (…) Zvezda service module of the International Space Station (…).”
“Introduced !!!”, because Roscosmos director Dmitry Rogozin wrote his part on Twitter to welcome the first docking of the Russian module to the ISS in 11 years.
“According to telemetry data and reports from ISS personnel, the station’s onboard systems and naval module are operating normally,” the space agency said in a statement, adding that the operation was ongoing. It took place at 4:29 pm Moscow time (13:29 GMT), three minutes after the scheduled time.
The ship still needs many months and space voyages to fully operate and integrate with the ISS.
The scientific module was launched from the Russian Biconur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on July 21 with a proton-M rocket.
The experiment was closely monitored by the European Space Agency (ESA), and the ship will be installed outside one of its equipment, the ERA robotic arm module.
The ship (“science” in Russian) is primarily a laboratory module, but it provides “extra volumes for workstations and cargo storage, water regeneration equipment and space for oxygen,” Roscosmos said.
With a total weight of 20 tons for an internal volume of 70 m3 – one of the largest in the ISS – the module began to be assembled in the 1990s, although its launch, originally planned for 2007, is constantly delayed.
Like other Russian space projects, it suffered from funding problems, bureaucratic mistakes and technical problems.
The ship will replace the PIRS module, which was detached from the ISS on Monday before being re-entered into Earth’s atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean.
Pierce joined the orbit station in 2011 and has been in service for five years, but his replacement delay delayed Roscosmos’ life.