Russia’s Progress 80 cargo spacecraft safely docked with the International Space Station (ISS) on Thursday, February 17 at 2:03 p.m. ET.
NASA has shared a video showing the final stages of the docking process, which successfully completed 270 miles over the South Pacific. Footage shows the docking from multiple angles and includes live audio from Mission Control in the US
The unmanned Russian Progress 80 spacecraft automatically docked with the station’s Poisk docking compartment at 2:03 a.m. ET, delivering nearly three tons of food, fuel and supplies to the orbiting laboratory. https://t.co/xGcjkSH4Bx pic.twitter.com/K6mJSRNb3A
— International Space Station (@Space_Station) February 17, 2022
Delivering around three tons of food, fuel and supplies for Expedition 66’s crew of seven aboard the ISS, the video begins with the unmanned spacecraft 72 meters from the docking point.
While Progress 80 appears to be moving slowly, it is actually orbiting at about 17,000 miles per hour. It appears as if it’s gently drifting toward the ISS because it’s adapting to the station’s own speed in order to dock.
With both Progress and the ISS orbiting at high speeds, the docking process is tricky. As you can see in the video, it takes about 10 minutes to bring Progress from its position 70 meters from the station to the point where it can finally be attached to the station’s Poisk docking station, which is part of the Russian segments of the ISS.
The Progress spacecraft has been a reliable workhorse for the Russian space agency. There have been 168 flights of various versions of Progress since the 1970s, with only three failures, all between 2011 and 2016.
Unlike SpaceX’s Cargo Dragon spacecraft, which has flown on supply trips to and from the space station since 2012, Progress is not designed for reuse and will incinerate after exiting the ISS as it enters Earth’s atmosphere at high speed.
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