Russia is sending a “new” laboratory to the ISS

This Wednesday, shortly before 5 p.m. CET, Russia plans to send its research module called “Nauka” (science) to the International Space Station (ISS). A Proton-M launch vehicle is to bring the 13-meter-long laboratory from the Russian spaceport Baikonur in the steppe of the Central Asian Republic of Kazakhstan to the human outpost at an altitude of 400 kilometers. The flight is said to take eight days.

For a long time it has been puzzled in Moscow whether the flying laboratory will ever be used. Planned start dates have been canceled countless times because of problems or lack of money. Most recently, Russia questioned its future participation in the ISS – and to this day it has not clearly positioned itself as to how long the proud space nation will operate its part of the station. The contract for this expires in 2024.