Progress MS-03 won space pursuit to International Space Station

Automatic cargo spacecraft Progress MS-03 launched on atop of Soyuz-U rocket on July 16, 2016, has docked to Pirs module of International Space Station. 

Docking was performed autonomously with utilization of Progress’ Kurs-NA docking system. Progress spent in space over 48 hours and reached Station yesterday in the late evening. Procedure of docking was controlled from Mission Control Center in Korolev and by two Russian cosmonauts - Alexey Ovchinin and Anatoly Ivanishin remaining inside ISS. In case of any problems Anatoly Ovchinin would take control over Progress and using console of TORU system installed in Zvezda module he would perform manual docking.

Progress reached International Space Station at late evening hours on July 18 2016. It was set on course to dock to Pirs Earth facing docking port and at around 23:40 GMT on July 18, it was already 4 km from Station, which was still on 408 km orbit with inclination at 51.6°. After eight minutes Progress entered into 2 km zone around ISS and prepared to perform flyaround maneuver. ISS and Progress were away from each other only for 1700 m. At 23:58 GMT distance was reduced to 700 m when speed of closing was at 2.35 m/s. Pirs modules was also in readiness and in next few minutes all thrusters installed on Pirs were turned off to avoid any accidental interruption of docking. At 00:02 GMT at distance of 379 m Progress started flyaround to align itself with Pirs docking port. At 00:06 at distance of 224 m from ISS, Progress performed roll maneuver to align its solar arrays correctly with Pirs and make docking possible. Shortly after Progress turned on its LED headlamp for illuminating docking port, in case of necessity of manual docking. At 00:17 GMT Progress was already only 50 m from ISS. Speed of approach was reduced to 0.15 m/s on 30 m distance. After slowly approach at 00:20 GMT Progress finally docked to ISS Pirs Earth facing docking port on altitude of 408.6 km over Santiago, Chile. After docking hooks were locked and after performing sealing of docking port, crew members performed leak check and at around 12:00 GMT will start to unload cargo.

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