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Last phase of Progress M-21M docking with ISS was controlled manually

November 30, 2013, 3:08 UTC+3 30
"A new approach system, Kurs-NA, controlled the close-up and docking,” an MC spokesman said
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KOROLYOV, Moscow Region, November 30 (Itar-Tass) - Russia’s cargo spacecraft Progress M-21M has docked with the international space station ISS with the use of the new automatic approach control system Kurs-NA. However, when Progress was just meters away from the station, the crew had to take over and complete the manoeuvre manually, Mission Control, near Moscow, told ITAR-TASS.

“The approach was run automatically all the way, but when the cargo spacecraft and the ISS were just tens of meters away from each other, practically before the moment of contact, ISS commander Oleg Kotov took over,” a Mission Control spokesman said without explaining why the docking had to be completed manually.

A reliable source has said “an error in the Kurs-NA system must have been the reason.”

The system Kurs (Course) is the main instrument controlling the approach and docking the Soyuz and Progress spacecraft are equipped with. It has been in use since the 1990s. Its latest version, Kurs-NA is significantly smaller, consumes less energy and is far more accurate

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