A Russian lab module that will provide more room for experiments and the International Space Station (ISS) crew has successfully docked on the ISS.
The Nauka module launched on July 21 on board the Proton-M booster rocket from the Russian space launch facility in Baikonur, Kazakhstan.
After eight days in free-flight the uncrewed 43ft-long module linked up to the port on the Earth-facing Russian segment of the ISS at 2.29pm on Thursday.
The new module will occupy the space vacated by the Pirs docking compartment, with the attached Progress 77 spacecraft which had called the ISS home for the past 20 years until Monday.
In order for Nauka to be prepared for operation, it will require a long series of manoeuvres, including up to 11 spacewalks beginning in early September.
Nauka, also called the Multipurpose Laboratory Module, will be a new science facility, docking port, and spacewalk airlock for future operations.
Its launch, initially scheduled for 2007, had been repeatedly delayed because of technical problems.