MLN under construction
Khrunichev has completed the fabrication and assembly of the flight version of the Multi-purpose Laboratory Module (MLM) or "Nauka" for the International Space Station. The MLM was shipped to the Energia Corporation on the 7 December where electrical checkouts of onboard systems will be performed.
Khrunichev Space Center is responsible for the performance of the MLM's primary structure, propulsion system, thermal control system and fire detection/extinguishing system. Khrunichev is also responsible for MLM/Proton M integration and launch.
The Nauka MLM is a modified version of Functional Cargo Block (FGB-2), the backup hardware for the original Zarya FGB. FGB-2 was 70% complete and stayed that condition until it as decided to modify it for use on the ISS.
MLM will dock at the Zvezda Service Module's nadir (earth facing) port and will replace the current PIRS module. PIRS will be allowed to renter Earth's atmosphere. Earlier plans called for a Nauka launch in 2007. The launch is now planned for 2013 or 2014. Nauka will serve as Russia's primary research module but will also have stowage and crew work areas.
This is that Nauka WIll look like once docked to the ISS and fully outfitted.