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Progress MS-02 arrives at ISS
A fresh cargo ship reached the International Space Station, ISS, after a successful launch on March 31, 2016. It delivered 2.5 tons of various supplies for the 47th long-duration expedition on the station. In the ISS flight manifest, the Progress MS-02 spacecraft had a designation 63P denoting the 63rd Russian resupply mission heading to the outpost, while in production documentation it was designated No. 432.
Progress MS-02 lifts off on March 31, 2016.
The launch of the Progress MS-02 mission was previously planned for April 8, 2016, but it was eventually re-scheduled for March 31.
On March 18, officials overseeing the launch gave green light to the fueling of the spacecraft's own propellant tanks, as well as resupply tanks to deliver propellant to the station.
Progress MS-02 during pre-launch processing.
After the completion of fueling, the spacecraft returned to its processing building at Site 254 in Baikonur on March 22, 2016, for final operations. Specialists at RKK Energia conducted final inspection of the vehicle on March 25, 2016. Two days later, the spacecraft under its payload fairing was transported by rail from its processing building at Site 254 to the launch vehicle assembly building at Site 31. The final integration of the payload section with the launch vehicle took place on March 28. On the same day the State Commission overseeing the launch approved the rollout of the vehicle to Pad 6 at Site 31, next morning.
Progress MS-02 lifts off
After a nine-minute ascent to orbit, the spacecraft separated from the third stage of the launch vehicle at 19:32:46.06 Moscow Time (12:32 p.m. EDT) into an initial orbit closely matching projected parameters:
At the time when the Progress-MS reached its initial orbit, the ISS was in a 402.18 by 422.17-kilometer orbit, 361.5 degrees away from the cargo ship in the so-called phasing angle.
Rendezvous and docking
For this mission, planners reverted to the two-day, 34-orbit trip to the station instead of the currently available six-hour rendezvous profile in order to test new software and communications equipment to be later used on all future Progress and Soyuz vehicles.
During the long-range rendezvous process, Progress MS-02 conducted a dual maneuver on March 31, during the third orbit of the mission, to enter a prescribed phasing orbit with the station and a single orbit correction is planned on April 1 (orbit 17), before the autonomous rendezvous process would begin:
The autonomous rendezvous process began on April 2, at 18:39:28 Moscow Time (11:39 a.m. EDT). The final maneuvers, including flyaround of the station, station-keeping and berthing was scheduled to commence at 20:39:41 Moscow Time (1:39 p.m. EDT).
The spacecraft was scheduled to dock at the aft port of the Zvezda Service Module, SM, the part of the Russian segment of the ISS on April 2, 2016, at 21:00:53 Moscow Time (2 p.m. EDT), during 34th orbit of the cargo mission. The actual docking took place around three minutes earlier, at 20:58 Moscow Time.
Progress MS-02 is scheduled to remain docked at ISS for more than six months before departing in mid-October 2016.
Cargo onboard Progress MS-02:
On August 24, 2016, the propulsion system on Progress MS-02 was used to adjust the orbit of the International Space Station, ISS, to provide necessary ballistic parameters for the upcoming return to Earth of the Soyuz TMA-20M spacecraft on Sept. 7, 2016, and the subsequent launch of the Soyuz MS-02 spacecraft on Sept. 23, 2016.
According to the Russian mission control, the engine firing was initiated at 10:30 Moscow Time (03:30 a.m. EDT) and lasted 728.6 seconds (more than 12 minutes), adding 1.3 meters per second to the outpost's velocity and boosting its average altitude by 2.3 kilometers.
Following the maneuver, the ISS was reported in the 403,79 by 420.1-kilometer orbit with an inclination 51.66 degrees toward the Equator and an orbital period of 92.58 minutes.
During its entire mission, Progress MS-02 conducted four planned orbit corrections of the ISS.
Progress MS-02 departed the ISS on October 14, 2016. The undocking command was issued at 12:37 Moscow Time (5:37 a.m. EDT) and the cargo ship parted with the station a minute and a half later.
The mission control in Korolev then began deorbiting operations. The spacecraft was programmed to begin the braking maneuver at 15:50 Moscow Time (8:50 a.m. EDT) to reenter the Earth's atmosphere. According to estimates, surviving debris of the cargo ship were to impact a remote part of the Pacific Ocean at 16:39 Moscow Time (7:39 a.m. EDT).
Progress MS-02 reentry as seen from the ISS.
Read much more about the history of the Russian space program in a richly illustrated, large-format glossy edition:
Progress MS-02 travels from Site 254 to Site 31 for integration with the launch vehicle on March 27. Click to enlarge. Credit: RKK Energia
A Soyuz rocket with Progress MS-02 spacecraft shortly before its rollout to the launch pad. Click to enlarge. Credit: RKK Energia
Progress MS-02 ascends to orbit as seen from ISS on March 31, 2016. Credit: RKK Energia