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Launch of Nauka module scheduled for May 2021, but can be postponed to July

"In case of any concerns, even slightest ones, we will not take chances," the Roscosmos chief said

MOSCOW, December 30. /TASS/. The launch of the Nauka multi-functional laboratory module to the International Space Station is scheduled for May 2021, but can be postponed to July if necessary, Roscosmos Director General Dmitry Rogozin said on Tuesday.

"So far, we are still eyeing the May launch window," he said in an interview with the Komsomolskaya Pravda radio. "But in case of any concerns, even the slightest ones, we will not take any chances. We have no right to put the launch at risk now. In this case, we will postpone it to July."

According to the Russian space official, the Nauka module project now proceeds according to the schedule.

Khrunichev Space Center Deputy CEO for Production Khokhlov said on July 31 that the research module would undergo a cycle of tests at the Baikonur space center before its launch to the ISS. All launch preparations would take nine months, he added.

In his words, the stage of electrical tests takes about six months, with all preparations included. Another three months will be necessary for pre-launch preparations, including microbiological protection, fueling and other operations.

The Nauka multi-functional laboratory module can generate oxygen for six people and regenerate water from the urine. The Nauka will provide a second toilet for Russian cosmonauts (the first is located in the Zvezda module) and a room for the third crewmember. It will also use the European Robotic Arm (ERA) that will help perform certain operations without spacewalks.