The Russian Multipurpose Laboratory, as its formally known, has been in the works since the late 1990s, and it was supposed to launch back in 2007, but an array of technical problems—from dirty fuel tanks through to aging components—prevented this from happening. Two components of the module, the airlock and a radiator, were launched to the ISS 11 years ago, where they’ve been lying in wait ever since.
The big day finally arrived yesterday when Nauka, along with Europe’s new robotic arm, launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan atop a Proton-M rocket. The launch appeared to go well
Earlier today, the entire mission seemed in peril as reports emerged of a problem with its onboard computer that prevented the use of its main engines to complete its first orbit-raising engine burn.
We don't know what's going to happen with Nauka, Russia's new space station module that has yet to raise its orbit. But losing it would be BAD, BAD, BAD. Success pretty much assures Russian participation in the ISS program through the 2020s. Failure would raise many questions.— Eric Berger (@SciGuySpace) July 22, 2021