MOSCOW, March 16 (Xinhua) -- Russia's federal space agency Roscosmos denied reports Friday of a delay to the launch of the new multi-purpose Nauka lab for the International Space Station (ISS).
"The launch has been planned for the second half of 2013. No decisions about a delay have been made," said Alexei Krasnov, head of Roscosmos' department for manned flights.
Earlier Friday, a source in the Russian space rocket industry told Interfax news agency the launch had been pushed back until at least spring 2014 but gave no reason.
Initially, the 20-ton Nauka lab was scheduled to launch in 2007 but it has been postponed several times due to underfinancing and re-design works.
The module will enable the Russian-manned Soyuz and Progress cargo ships to dock with the ISS, transfer fuel, control the station's orientation and store cargo. It is to replace the Pirs module, which will be decommissioned after undocking from the ISS.
In January, Roscosmos postponed a planned launch to take new crew to the ISS due to a rocket defect.