The multipurpose laboratory module (MLM) “Science” after replacing the original fuel tanks with the capacities of the “Fregat” upper stage cannot become the base unit of the Russian national near-earth station. This was reported to RIA Novosti by a source in the rocket and space industry.
According to him, the original tanks can not be cleaned of contamination, while "new tanks are not designed for reuse, they are disposable." The interlocutor noted that the replacement will allow the MLM after the launch of the Proton-M rocket into low-Earth orbit to reach the International Space Station (ISS), after which the “tanks cannot be refueled again”.
In March, it became known that “Science” will receive the fuel tanks of the Fregat upper stage, because “the old tanks cannot be cleaned, and this does not make sense, because, apart from problems with clogging, they were made with violations and microcracks 18 years ago ".
Revision of "Science" is planned to be held in the "Energy", where in August the module will be delivered from the "Khrunichev Center." The dispatch of the unit on the Proton-M rocket from Baikonur to the International Space Station (ISS) is scheduled for the summer of 2020.
In early March, Sergei Savelyev, the developer of new modules for the ISS, left Energy for Glavkosmos.
In April 2018, the general director of the Khrunichev Center, Aleksei Varachko, stated that the Nauka was completed and would be sent to the Baikonur cosmodrome by the end of 2018. “He is already completed. Our task is to deliver it to the spaceport by the end of the year, ”the manager noted.
"Science" has been built by the "Khrunichev Center" since the mid-1990s. The launch of the 20-ton module was calculated in 2007, but the dates were repeatedly postponed, twice – in 2013 and 2016 – due to the detection of contamination in the fuel tanks. "Science" should become the basic module of the Russian national space station after the ISS has ceased to exist no earlier than 2024.
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