The Russian section of the International Space Station gained a 23-ton science module on Thursday. Hours later, the new arrival, named Nauka, took the station and its astronaut crew for a surprising ride.
Also known as the Multipurpose Laboratory Module, Nauka launched to space last week. As it headed to its rendezvous with the space station, the module encountered a series of problems with its engines and systems that ground controllers steadily worked out. Thursday’s additional incident, involving an unexpected firing of the module’s thrusters, is likely to prompt an investigation into what went wrong.
On Thursday morning at 9:29 a.m. Eastern time, the module gently docked with the outpost in orbit. Cheers could be heard over the audio feed as the operation was completed.
“Oleg, congratulations, that was not an easy docking,” Russia’s ground control said to Oleg Novitskiy, the astronaut who managed the docking operation from the space station.