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MOSCOW, July 29 (Itar-Tass) —— The Russian Mission Control Centre this Sunday will make the second attempt to dock the Progress cargo craft to the ISS to test the new Kurs-NA system.
The first attempt made on July 24 failed.
Progress M-15M must dock to the Pirs module at 05:00 Moscow time, a MCC source told Itar-Tass.
The Kurs-NA system, lighter and more precise than the previous modification, will control the approach and the docking of the spacecraft to the station.
The new surface antenna of the Kurs is shorter, and it must be turned before the spacecraft touches the station, an expert explained.
The imperfect Kurs structure caused a problem in the docking operation in October 2006 when Progress M-58 attempted to dock with the ISS. One of the antennas of the cargo craft was not removed. The operation was stopped, and another attempt was made. ISS Crew 14 -- Russian Mikhail Tyurin, American Michael Lopez-Alegria and German Thomas Reiter successfully coped with the situation -- they manually conducted the docking oepration and fastened the cargo craft on the station with the hooks.
With the new antenna, such a situation must not recur, MCC experts believe.
Progress M-15M will remain joined to the orbital complex until Monday evening, July 30, and then it will be undocked from the station for a free three-week flight. During the time, it will be used as an orbital laboratory to conduct a scientific experiment Radar-Progress. After the scientific work, the cargo craft will be sunk in the special area in the Pacific.