28 Mar 2018 15:40

Launch of Nauka module, Spektr-RG orbital observatory delayed until 2019 - source

BAIKONUR/MOSCOW. March 28 (Interfax) - The Nauka module also known as the Multipurpose Laboratory Module (MLM), as well as the Spektr-RG high-energy orbital observatory will not be launched this year, a source in Baikonur told Interfax.

"Repairs of the MLM Nauka are taking longer than expected, and the deadlines are yet unclear. This means it will not be brought to Baikonur any time soon, and the launch will be postponed until 2019," the source said.

It was reported earlier that the mission would be delayed for six months. "The delivery of the MLM Nauka to the Baikonur cosmodrome has been moved from September to late 2018. Hence, the module's launch to the ISS has been provisionally delayed for another six months," the source said.

The launch was scheduled for September 2018 with the possible alternative date in March 2019.

The original launch time was late 2017, but the mission had to be delayed until 2018 because of a clog in the module's fuel system.

It is also probable that launches of the Spektr-RG high-energy orbital observatory, the Elektro-L No.3 satellite that will be undergoing thermal-vacuum tests until the end of this year, and two Proton rockets chartered by ILS will be moved to next year. "Proton missions may be moved because of the unpreparedness of satellites for the group launch," the source said.

For now, it is planned to launch two Proton rockets carrying Blagovest communication satellites in 2018. "The first mission is scheduled to take place on April 19, and the other one in the end of the year," he said.

Roscosmos told Interfax there were no official decisions to postpone the launches.