After launching last week, the mod was struggling with faulty engines. They were supposed to elevate Nauka to a higher orbit, and there were concerns about the automatic clutch system as well. Russian space agency Roskosmos managed to resolve the complications in time so that the pairing could take place today as planned.
Naukkah is a new science module for the Russian part of the space station. The module was due to join the ISS in 2007, but the launch was delayed by fourteen years due to technical and budgetary issues.
‘It was exciting’
Suddenly, the robotic arm, on which we had been working in the Netherlands since 1986 and which cost 370 million euros, also had to wait a long time to be transported to the ISS.
ESA Director Philippe Schoonejans, who has been involved with ERA from the start, said he was extremely relieved that the arm has now arrived at the ISS. “It was exciting. Several workarounds were needed to make a good coupling possible, and the Russians did a great job.”
The robotic arm will not be activated until the end of September. One of the first missions of the ERA is to connect a radiator and a scientific airlock in Naoeka. The arm will then be used for other activities, such as moving experiments in and out of the airlock and as an aid for spacewalks on the Russian side of the ISS.
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