Moscow, Dec 22 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Space rocket corporation Energia has won a 350 million ruble (about $11 million) contract to design the orbital laboratory Oka-T-MKS.
Russia’s federal space agency Roscosmos announced a tender for the contract in October and only received one bid — from Energia Corp.
The Oka-T-MKS is a multifunctional space laboratory that will operate autonomously in orbit, periodically docking with the International Space Station (ISS) whose crew will service its scientific research equipment, and conduct refuelling and other operations.
The Oka will have a payload of 850 kg and will perform fundamental and applied research in space materials study, plasma physics, biology and medicine.
It will be able to work independently for up to 180 days after which it will need to dock with the ISS.
It was earlier planned that the Oka will be launched in 2015 but in October 2011 Roscosmos deputy head Vitaly Davydov said the project was put back by two to three years “due to the lack of concrete scientific research projects, as well as clients”.