Watch live tonight: Russian cargo ship moves to new parking spot at space station

Update: Russia’s Progress 78 cargo resupply spacecraft efficiently undocked from the space station’s Poisk module late Wednesday (Oct. 20) and is at present scheduled to dock at the Nauka module at 12:24 a.m. EDT (0424 GMT) on Friday (Oct. 22). You can watch a live webcast of the docking within the window above starting about 1 hour earlier than docking. 

An uncrewed Russian cargo ship will start swapping parking spots at the International Space Station tonight (Oct. 20) in a transfer that can take simply over a day to attain its new berth.

The Progress 78 spacecraft is scheduled to undock from Russia’s Poisk module at the station at 7:42 p.m. EDT (2342 GMT). There will not be any protection of the undocking on NASA Television, however you possibly can watch it redock at its new port at the International Space Station on Thursday.

After undocking tonight, the Progress spacecraft will “station-keep” (that is NASA-speak for maintain its place) at some extent about 120 miles (193 km) from the space station till for greater than a day — 28 hours, 41 minutes to be actual — earlier than redocking at the stations’ new Russian-built Nauka laboratory module Friday at 12:23 a.m. EDT (0423 GMT). NASA will carry protection of the rendezvous and redocking beginning at 11:30 p.m. EDT Thursday (0330 GMT Friday). All of those occasions are topic to change.

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

It’s uncommon for a spacecraft to maintain place for therefore lengthy close to the space station, however NASA stated the ready time would help with the redocking process.

“The 24 hours for undocking/redocking is to allow Russian flight controllers to configure the systems on Nauka to receive the Progress,” NASA spokesperson Leah Cheshier advised by way of e-mail. “The vehicle backs away to a safe distance from the station while that work is going on.”

Additionally, Progress 78 will likely be in a position to do leak checks of the Nauka module propellant’s traces earlier than the module fires its thrusters to carry out “orientation control” of the station, NASA officers noted in a statement in regards to the maneuver. 

In late July, the Nauka module accidentally tilted the space station by about 540 levels shortly after its personal docking due to a software program glitch. NASA has stated the crew was in no hazard at the time. (Yet one other Russian spacecraft, a Soyuz MS-18 crew capsule that returned a movie crew to Earth final week, briefly knocked the ISS off-orientation on Oct. 15. NASA and Roscosmos are wanting into the basis trigger.)

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The Progress 78 spacecraft will carry out the docking with out the assistance of the station’s present Expedition 66 crew, however Russian cosmonauts are standing by simply in case they want to help with the redocking, NASA stated in a blog post about station operations.

“The station’s two cosmonauts, Flight Engineers Pyotr Dubrov and Anton Shkaplerov, are getting ready,” the weblog submit acknowledged. “The duo practiced on the Zvezda service module’s tele-robotically operated rendezvous unit for the unlikely event they would have to manually redock the 78P.”

Progress 78 launched to the space station in late June and and arrived at the orbiting lab on July 1, when it docked at the Poisk module after a two-day journey. Its port change comes only a week earlier than one other Russian cargo spacecraft, Progress 79, will depart Earth for the space station. The launch is scheduled to depart the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan for no sooner than 8 p.m. EDT Wednesday, Oct. 27 (0000 GMT or 5 a.m. native time Thursday, Oct. 28.) NASA will begin its protection about quarter-hour earlier than launch.

Progress 79 will haul three tons of meals, gas and provides to the space station for an anticipated docking at the aft port of the Zvezda service module at 9:34 p.m. EDT Friday, Oct. 29 (0134 GMT Saturday, Oct. 30). NASA plans its live protection at 8:45 p.m. EDT Friday (0045 GMT Saturday).

Editor’s word: This article was initially revealed Oct. 20 and up to date Oct. 21.

Follow Elizabeth Howell on Twitter @howellspace. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook. 

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