7 Mar 2018 20:22

Progress freighter to undock from ISS on March 26

MOSCOW. March 7 (Interfax) - The cargo spacecraft Progress MC-07, which was supposed to be used for the first time in history for testing super-short docking with the International Space Station (ISS), will leave the ISS at the end of March, a source in the space and rocket industry told Interfax.

"The undocking of the Progress MC-7 cargo transport ship is scheduled for March 26," the source said.

In early October, 2017, the freighter, after launching from Baikonur, was supposed to dock to the ISS after a three-and-a-half hour trip. However, the launch was postponed until the backup date, October 14, and the ship took two days to reach the ISS. Another attempt was made to test the new system when launching the next freighter, Progress MC-08, but that launch was also postponed, and the ship again docked to the ISS under the usual two-day scheme.

Nevertheless, Russia has not abandoned the idea of delivering supplies to the ISS under the accelerated scheme, whereby a ship circles the earth only twice between liftoff and docking. Its first trial is now planned to be tested with cargo ships and, later, manned Soyuz-MCs. Under the traditional two-day scheme, the time between liftoff and docking is about 50 hours.

In both instances, liftoff was postponed due to computer problems aboard the Soyuz-2.1a carrier rocket.