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Russia’s Progress cargo spacecraft re-docked to ISS

July 01, 9:15 UTC+3 MOSCOW
On July 3 the Progress MS cargo spacecraft will leave the space station
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© NASA/Bill Ingalls

MOSCOW, July 1. /TASS/. Russia’s cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin has switched off the manual docking control system of the Progress MS from the International Space Station on a command from the Mission Control Center.

According to NASA, the Progress cargo ship automatically undocked from the Pirs Docking Compartment of the space station before its manual guiding back in to re-dock. The maneuver took approximately 30 minutes.

This activity tested an upgraded manual docking system and an associated signal converter. The resupply ship backed away to a distance of about 600 feet (about 183 meters) from the station, at which point Expedition 48 cosmonauts Alexey Ovchinin and Oleg Skripochka of the Russian Space Agency Roscosmos took manual control of the spacecraft. They used a workstation in the Zvezda Service Module to "fly" the Progress back to a linkup with Pirs.

The Progress MS resupply vehicle was re-docked to the ISS after a 30-minute autonomous flight. The cargo ship was undocked from the Pirs module at 08:35 am, Moscow time and backed away to a distance of about 200 meters from the station. Russia’s State Space Corporation Roscosmos said previously that the experiment was needed to complete the flight tests of the first spacecraft of a new series and check an upgraded manual rendezvous system.

Meanwhile, a space industry source told TASS on Friday that due to an additional pulse of the approaching and orientation engines of the cargo spacecraft, the Progress MS was wobbling after touching the station’s port. "Experts are currently trying to find out the cause of the ship’s rendezvous engine", he said.

It was reported earlier that Progress MS has been temporarily undocked from the ISS  for testing an upgraded manual rendezvous system. 

Russia’s State Apace Corporation Roscosmos said previously that the Progress MS ship would back away from the docking port of Pirs module at a distance of about 200 meters to complete the flight tests of the first ship of a new series. The activity will test an upgraded manual docking system and an associated signal converter. Russian cosmonauts Alexei Ovchinin and Oleg Skripochka will control the resupply vehicle from the ISS using this system. The progress ship will return to the station at about at 09:10 am, Moscow time.

The Progress MS cargo spacecraft was launched from the Baikonur cosmodrome on December 21, 2015, and docked to the ISS two days later. The docking took place in an automatic mode. On July 3 at 06:47 am, Moscow time, the Progress MS ship will finally leave the space station. On the same day, the ship will be sunk in the Pacific Ocean.

The Progress MS series spacecraft have additional protection from space debris and micrometeorites, back-up electric motors in the docking mechanism.

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