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WATCH: Russian lab module ‘Nauka’ successfully docks at International Space Station eight days after blasting off from Earth

The much-awaited multifunctional laboratory module Nauka has successfully arrived and docked at the International Space Station. It is the first segment sent by Russia to the planet’s only inhabited satellite in over a decade.

Nauka, launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome on July 21, replaces the almost 20-year-old Pirs module. Pirs undocked from the ISS on Monday, ahead of Nauka’s arrival, and was taken down to the Earth’s atmosphere for a destructive re-entry. The non-flammable elements were submerged in the South Pacific Ocean.

The new module arrived on Thursday afternoon. It will now take astronauts multiple spacewalks to fully connect the new segment to the rest of the International Space Station (ISS), in a process that will take months.

Nauka, which will be used for experiments, can also generate oxygen for six people and regenerate water from urine. It also provides a second toilet for Russian cosmonauts and will be able to accommodate a third crew member. Attached to the module is a European Robotic Arm that can help install and replace station components without the need to perform a spacewalk.

READ MORE: Russia launches ‘Nauka’ multifunctional scientific lab module to International Space Station from Baikonur Cosmodrome (VIDEO)

Earlier this year, the head of Roscosmos, Dmitry Rogozin, revealed that Moscow would withdraw from the ISS project in 2025 and create its own space station if the US continued to impose sanctions against the Russian space sector. President Vladimir Putin has already signed off on a project for a Russian-only orbital station, which will consist of three to seven modules.

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