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Russia yesterday announced that it will once again delay the launch of its Nauka module for ISS due to “additional adjustments that should be carried out due to the use of original propellant tanks.”
The TASS article did not explain what those adjustments will be, though it did outline some of the sad history of Nauka, which Russia had begun construction in 1995, a quarter of a century ago.
Earlier, Roscosmos Director General Dmitry Rogozi said the research module’s original propellant tanks, manufactured about 18 years ago, could be replaced with those from the Fregat booster. However, later it was decided to send the module to the ISS with its original tanks.
The construction of the Nauka module began in 1995. Russia initially planned to launch the Nauka lab to the ISS as a back-up of the Zarya compartment (the station’s first module that continues its flight as part of the orbital outpost) but the launch was numerously delayed. In 2013, the Nauka module was sent to the Khrunichev Space Center after metal chips were found in its fuel system.
Right now they are saying it will probably launch early in 2021, not late in 2020 as previously announced.