Tag Archives: progress

A Progress freighter, launched yesterday, will not dock with ISS for four days in order to test upgrades to its rendezvou radar system.

A Progress freighter, launched yesterday, will not dock with ISS for four days in order to test upgrades to its rendezvou radar system.

Unlike recent Progress vehicles that used the 2AO-VKA and AKR-VKA antennas of Kurs-A system, M-21M is sporting a AO-753A antenna of the Kurs-NA system instead. Once the Progress reaches its preliminary orbit, it will conduct a series of automated engine burns to put it on track to fly within one mile of the station on Wednesday, allowing for the test of the lighter, more-efficient Kurs automated rendezvous system hardware for upgraded Soyuz and Progress vehicles.

After it finishes its flyby, the Progress will loop above and behind the station, returning Friday for a docking.

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NASA is trying get some spare spacesuit parts onto a Russian Progress freighter, scheduled to launch Saturday, in its effort to fix its American spacesuits on ISS.

NASA is trying get some spare spacesuit parts onto a Russian Progress freighter, scheduled to launch Saturday, in its effort to fix its American spacesuits on ISS.

It must be emphasized that NASA still doesn’t know exactly what caused the water leak into that spacesuit during a spacewalk last week.

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The European Space Agency is investigating the possibility that the Progress docking to ISS on April 26 might have damaged equipment needed by their ATV cargo ship.

The European Space Agency is investigating the possibility that the Progress docking to ISS on April 26 might have damaged equipment needed by their ATV cargo ship.

The damage, caused by the undeployed Progress antenna, appears to have involved a navigational aid needed for ATV-4 … the Laser Radar Reflector (LRR) target. The LRR is needed for the automatic docking of the European ATV during the last part of the rendezvous operations. If the damage is confirmed, the device, recently replaced during an EVA by the Russian crew due to contamination of the optical section, will need to be replaced again. In this event, the European cargo ship could potentially be delayed for several months. ATV-4, named Albert Einstein, has been already delayed from April to June because of a glitch in an avionics box.

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It appears the Progress freighter has successfully docked with ISS.

It appears the Progress freighter has successfully docked with ISS.

The story is not entirely clear on whether this was a successful hard dock, or only a soft dock. However, I’ve done a search on the web and it sounds like the docking was good. This story says the astronauts on ISS will conducting leak tests (a normal procedure) and then begin unloading, which suggests that all is well.

A hard docking is confirmed.

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A new report from Russia suggests that the undeployed antenna on the Progess freighter will interfere with ISS’s docking port and prevent a docking.

A new report from Russia suggests that the undeployed antenna on the Progess freighter will interfere with ISS’s docking port and prevent a docking.

It appears that the antenna would allow a soft docking but prevent the hard docking necessary to allow for the opening of the hatch. Something similar to this had happened on the Russian Mir station in the 1987. Two astronauts did a space walk to clear the hatch of a piece of debris. Now the Russians are suggesting again that if a hard dock becomes impossible a spacewalk be performed to get the antenna out of the way.

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A test redocking of a new automatic docking system on a Russian Progress freighter was aborted last night when the system did not work as planned.

A test redocking of a new automatic docking system on a Russian Progress freighter was aborted last night when the system did not work as planned.

They will probably try again on the weekend, after a Japanese cargo craft is berthed with the station.

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Russia is considering shortening the time it takes for its Progress and Soyuz capsules to reach ISS after launch, from 50 hours to 6.

Russia is considering shortening the time it takes for its Progress and Soyuz capsules to reach ISS after launch, from 50 hours to 6.

The long travel time was designed to save fuel at launch — thus increasing payload — by allowing orbital mechanics to bring the capsule and station together. I wonder then why the Russians are considering this change. Have the figured out a way to save the fuel in other ways?

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More Progress freighter crash investigation results

More Progress freighter crash investigation results: it appears there was something that blocked the fuel supply.

“The exposed production defect was accidental,” [the investigation] said, adding the reason may be qualified as an isolated case only after checking all available engines.

This suggests that the problem was an isolated error and that, once they have cleared the available engines, they can start flying relatively quickly.

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Some suggestions for keeping ISS occupied

Some suggestions for keeping ISS occupied.

I especially like Harman’s suggestion that the Russians consider landing in the U.S. during the winter, thereby allowing them to extend one crew’s occupancy of ISS into December, January, or even February. Also, he proposes the Russians send an unmanned Soyuz to ISS during testing of the rocket, thereby providing the crews onboard a fresh lifeboat. This is something they have done in the past on their previous space station Mir.

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If ISS becomes unmanned, the first test of Dragon will also be delayed

More possible consequences if ISS becomes unmanned: the first test of Dragon will be delayed.

An unmanned ISS will also delay the first launch in February of Orbital Sciences Cyngus cargo vehicle, as this vehicle is like Dragon in that it requires astronauts on board ISS to control the robot arm that grabs and berths the spacecraft.

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A preliminary cause for the Russian launch failure has been found

Good news: The Russians have pinned down a preliminary cause for the Progress launch failure last week.

Solving this quickly appears essential, as the space station was not really designed to fly unmanned.

Past NASA risk assessments show there is a one in 10 chance of losing the station within six months if astronauts and cosmonauts are not onboard to deal with any critical systems failures. The probability soars to a frightening one in two chance — a 50-percent probability — if the station is left without a crew for a year.

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Russia plans two unmanned test launches of Soyuz rockets before using them to deliver crews to the ISS

Because of this week’s Progress freighter launch failure, Russia plans two unmanned test launches of its Soyuz rockets before flying crews on them to ISS.

One of these test launches will carry a new Progress freighter, with supplies for ISS.

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ATV burns up, Progress launched

Busy day for travel to and from ISS: The European unmanned ATV freighter Johannes Kepler burned up in the atmosphere even as a Russian Progress freighter was launched.

In related news, the U.S. and ESA are in negotiations to merge the European unmanned ATV freighter program with NASA’s manned Orion derivative. At the same time, Europe has announced its plans to test fly a reusable space plane.

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Redundancy is all

I just thought I’d note the interesting juxtaposition illustrated by my previous two posts: In one case there is a battle between Congress and the President over the future of the American manned space program, prompted by the impending shutdown of the shuttle program with no immediate replacement in sight. In the other case, the only remaining program with the capability to provide manned access to the International Space Station has a serious docking failure.

With manned spaceflight, redundancy is all important. This juxtaposition illustrates very clearly the precarious position we will be in once the shuttle is retired.

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