Progress docks with the ISS

The unmanned freighter Progress 38 docked flawlessly with the International Space Station on the second attempt. The same operation was aborted by the automatic KURS radar docking system between the two vehicles after the manual control TORU system caused interference with the signal.

Progress flew behind the ISS, spent ten minutes making sure it was following on an identical orbit and then advanced, making contact to the docking ring at 17:17. Progress 38 joins previous unmanned supply vessel Progress 37 as well as crew vehicles Soyuz TMA-18 and TMA-19, which are presently docked at the station. After contact, the thrusters of both vehicles were turned off to allow them to adjust to the new velocities before ‘hard contact’ was made and the two were joined together. The events were watched across the world via NASA TV, which then uploaded archived film to their youtube channel:

The next Progress mission to the station is in September and the next (penultimate according to the schedule at present) shuttle mission is in November, with the final one next February. There will also be a Soyuz landing and flight for a crew change later this year. If you want to see when the ISS might be flying over your area, put your location into Heavens Above (and hope the clouds leave).

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