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2015: Roskosmos re-commits to Nauka

After months of uncertainty, Roskosmos decided jump-start the work on the MLM Nauka module in the hope of launching it within three years.

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A likely image of the Integrated Prototype (Kompleksny Stand) of the MLM module at RKK Energia checkout facility, KIS, in Korolev.

In November 2014, officials cited the launch of the MLM module to the ISS in the first quarter of 2017, however the station's flight manifest surfaced in April 2015 indicated the launch in the middle of 2017. Fortunately, by that time, the Russian space program reacquired some focus after several months of uncertainty.

As late as 2015, Roskosmos continued evaluating various schemes to separate the MLM along with the UM and NEM-1 modules from the ISS at the end of its operation to form the new outpost in the low Earth orbit.

On Dec. 30, 2015, Roskosmos awarded contract No. 351-8517/15/361 to RKK Energia for the development of a modified version of the MLM module designated MLM-U. It covered work until June 30, 2018, which would apparently include the launch of the spacecraft.

The MLM-U contract covered the following work:

  • The extension of the MLM overall life span and the life span of its key systems;
  • Upgrades of the MLM system to ensure their functioning within the future Russian orbital station;
  • Upgrades of the active docking mechanism (INSIDER CONTENT) of the MLM module into a convertible design (INSIDER CONTENT) compatible with a modified version of the cargo ship, which could be used as deorbiting vehicle for the module;
  • Development of a customized structure for the attachment of science equipment for conducting science experiments on the exterior of the MLM-U module;
  • The development of a customized for attachment of cargo delivered to orbit (INSIDER CONTENT) with the MLM module.


Next chapter: MLM in 2016


Article, photography and illustrations by Anatoly Zak; Last update: March 31, 2022

Page Editor: Alain Chabot; Edits: October 21, 2008; September 30, 2016

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