Russia launches lab module to International Space Station

Russia has successfully launched a long-delayed lab module for the International Space Station

MOSCOW — Russia has successfully launched a long-delayed lab module for the International Space Station that is intended to provide more room for scientific experiments and space for the crew.

A Proton-M booster rocket carrying the Nauka module lifted off as scheduled at 7:58 pm local time (14:58 GMT) Wednesday from the Russian space launch facility in Baikonur, Kazakhstan.

After a series of maneuvers, the 20-metric-ton (22-ton) module is set to dock at the International Space Station eight days later.

The launch of Nauka, also called the Multipurpose Laboratory Module, had been repeatedly delayed because of technical problems. It was initially scheduled to go up in 2007.

In 2013, experts found contamination in its fuel system, resulting in a long and costly replacement. Other Nauka systems also underwent modernization or repairs.

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