STAR CITY (Moscow Region), November 27 (RIA Novosti) – The Russian space agency has notified NASA that the launch of a new Russian research module to the International Space Station has been postponed until at least 2015, a senior space industry official said Wednesday.
“We have met with our US colleagues and informed them that the MLM [multirole laboratory module] will not appear in orbit in 2014,” said Alexei Krasnov, head of piloted space flight programs at Russia’s Federal Space Agency.
The launch of the Nauka (Science) module has been repeatedly delayed. The module is being developed by the Khrunichev space center and the RKK Energia space corporation.
The head of Energia, Vitaly Lopota, earlier blamed the Khrunichev center for the delay, citing technical glitches in the module and organizational issues. Lopota said that the launch schedule could be determined only after Khrunichev fixed all the problems.
The Nauka MLM is one of the Russian modules based on the functional cargo block 2, a back-up for the current Zarya cargo block module.
The module will carry out commercial projects with the aim of attracting private finance, including investment for developing products.
Nauka will also perform a range of other functions including life-support, steering the ISS with an attached motor and docking with cargo vessels.
The new module is big enough for three cosmonauts to work in.
The ISS currently has five Russian-built modules: the Zvezda service module, the Zarya cargo block, the Pirs docking module, the Poisk (Search) research module and Rassvet (Dawn) research module.