MOSCOW, September 19. /TASS/. Orginial propellant tanks will be installed on Russia’s multifunctional laboratory module Nauka (Science), which is expected to be launched to the International Space Station in 2020, two rocket and space industry sources told TASS on Thursday.
According to the sources, there will be no need to refit Nauka with tanks from the Fregat booster, as was earlier announced by Roscosmos Director General Dmitry Rogozin.
"Original tansks will be used. They had successfully undergone all trials, all problems with them have been fixed. We are now receiving relevant documents," one of the sources told TASS.
He said the module is currently at the Khrunichev center, and the timeframe of finishing touches to it is now being coordinated.
Another source in the industry told TASS that although Nauka tanks were initially designed for multiple use, "they will be used only once - for the module’s docking with the space station."
Development of the Nauka module began back in 1995. It was initially planned to be launched to the ISS as a substitute for the Zarya module. The launch was repeatedly suspended. In December 2013, the module was sent back to the Khrunichev research center due to a problem in the engine system. The Khrunichev Center and RSC Energia have teamed up to work on the module.
Earlier, Rogozin said that the launch of the module was scheduled for summer of 2020.
The Nauka module has a launch weight of over 20 tonnes and can accommodate up to 3 tonnes of scientific equipment. The module is designed to provide a docking port for Soyuz and Progress spacecraft, ensure the pumping of fuel from Progress spacecraft’s fuel tanks to the ISS and take care of the station’s roll control with the help of engines. It will also house ERA (the European Robotic Arm), allowing to perform certain extravehicular activities without a spacewalk. The module is also expected to generate oxygen for six people and regenerate water from urine.