Russian Progress cargo ship docks at space station after two-day journey

An uncrewed Russian cargo spacecraft has arrived at the International Space Station after a two-day journey to ship meals, gas and provides for the orbiting outpost’s crew.

The Progress MS-17 freighter linked up with the Poisk mini analysis module on the space-facing facet of the station’s Russian section on Thursday (July 1). The automated docking occurred at 8:59 p.m. EDT (0059 GMT on July 2).

Launched on Tuesday (June 29) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, Progress MS-17 accomplished 34 orbits of Earth on its way to the space station. During its rendezvous, the ship was predicted to come back throughout the neighborhood of two items of SpaceX {hardware}.

Related: How Russia’s Progress cargo ships work (infographic)

“Information shows that a Starlink satellite system spacecraft and a Falcon 9 rocket fragment [are] expected to approach the Progress MS-17 spacecraft on July 1,” Roscosmos, Russia’s state space corporation, stated in a June 30 release

Flight controllers monitored the situation, but no maneuvers were needed to avoid an impact, with the Starlink satellite expected to fly by at a distance of about 1 mile (1.6 kilometers) and the rocket fragment passing at about 1,600 feet (500 meters). The two encounters occurred about three minutes apart.

Packed aboard Progress MS-17 is more than 3,600 lbs. (1,630 kilograms) of supplies for the space station’s Expedition 65 crew, including commander Akihiko Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and flight engineers Mark Vande Hei, Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur of NASA, Thomas Pesquet of the European Space Agency (ESA) and Oleg Novitsky and Pyotr Dubrov of Roscosmos. 

Among the cargo to be unpacked are Russian science experiments designed to develop countermeasures for osseous (bone) lesions and to study the impact of long-duration space missions on cosmonauts’ activities. There is also research into pharmaceuticals to modulate the human immune system and hardware to map the global structure of space weather and meteorological processes from orbit.

Progress MS-17 will spend almost five months docked to Poisk at the station. The cargo craft is then scheduled to perform an automated undocking and relocation to the new “Nauka” multipurpose laboratory module in late October. Named for the Russian word for “science,” Nauka is slated to be launched to the space station this summer time.

After altering ports and being repacked with refuse from the space station, Progress MS-17 will undock in November to re-enter Earth’s environment for its secure destruction. 

Progress MS-17 is the 78th Russian cargo craft to launch to the International Space Station since August 2000.

Robert Pearlman is a Space.com contributing author and the editor of collectSPACE.com, a Space.com companion web site and the main space historical past information publication. Follow collectSPACE on Facebook and on Twitter at @collectSPACE. Follow us @Spacedotcom and Facebook.

Robert Pearlman is a journalist and space historian.

His unique “Ask An Astronaut” web site preceded NASA’s efforts to attach the general public with the women and men who’ve flown in space. Later, as the net program director for the National Space Society, Pearlman led the redesign and growth of the group’s on-line assets and web site, together with authoring the tutorial viewer’s information for Tom Hanks’ award-winning HBO miniseries “From the Earth to the Moon.”

In 1997, Pearlman was recruited by Buzz Aldrin to develop the Apollo astronaut’s first web site. And in 1999, Pearlman co-founded the astronaut-endorsed Starport.com, which subsequently was acquired by Space.com. Pearlman was then employed by Space.com to handle the positioning’s neighborhood tasks.

Between 1998 and 2003, Pearlman was the on-air, on-line host for the National Space Day stay webcast filmed at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum.

In 1996, Pearlman was employed by space tourism agency Space Adventures as its first advertising and publicity director.

Today, Pearlman is the editor of collectSPACE.

Pearlman is a contributing author for Space.com, serves on the management board for For All Moonkind, he’s a member of the American Astronautical Society’s historical past committee, and serves as an advisor for The Mars Generation.

He is the co-author of “Space Stations: The Art, Science, and Reality of Working in Space,” printed on Oct. 30, 2018 by Smithsonian Books.

He served as technical advisor on the 2013 film “Space Warriors” with Mira Sorvino and Danny Glover and the 2018 Damien Chazelle movie “First Man” with Ryan Gosling and Claire Foy. He served as historic advisor on the 2019 Todd Douglas Miller documentary “Apollo 11.”

Pearlman has additionally appeared as a commentator on:

  • Strange Inheritance (Fox Business Network)
  • American Restoration (History Channel)
  • American Pickers (History Channel)
  • Mysteries at the Museum (Travel Channel)
  • Brad Meltzer’s Lost History (H2)
  • Ancient Aliens (History Channel)
  • NASA’s Unexplained Files (Science Channel)

Pearlman beforehand served on the boards of the National Space Society and U.S. Space Walk of Fame Foundation. He can be a former national chair for the Students for the Exploration and Development of Space.

In 2001, his work on collectSPACE earned Pearlman the Collector of the Year Award from the Universal Autograph Collectors Club (UACC).

In 2009, Pearlman was inducted into the Space Camp Hall of Fame.

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