Progress docks successfully on second attempt

Crew on the International Space station successfully captured the drifting Progress 38 spaceship yesterday after it failed to dock as planned on Friday.

“The docking was executed flawlessly by Progress’ KURS automated rendezvous system,” says NASA. It took place as planned at 12.17pm EDT.

On Friday, the Russian spaceship failed to dock with the ISS as scheduled, instead sailing past. A telemetry failure was blamed.

NASA now says interference was probably behind the failure.

“The most likely cause of Friday’s aborted docking was traced to the activation of the TORU ‘Klest’ TV transmitter, which created interference with TORU itself, causing a loss of the TORU command link between Progress and the International Space Station that triggered the abort of the Progress docking,” says NASA.

TORU, which allows commander Alexander Skvorstov to see the docking target and dock a ship manually, wasn’t used yesterday. It, too, was recently subject to failure: in May, Skvorstov was forced to take control manually using a backup system.

Progress 38 was carrying 1,918 pounds of propellant, 110 pounds of oxygen, 220 pounds of water and 2,667 pounds of scientific equipment, spare parts and other supplies.

The crew of three Russians and three Americans is having the day off today, to make up for being quite so busy on Independence Day itself.