Late last week a Russian Progress resupply ship lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The launch of that resupply ship went off without a hitch, and the resulting two-day flight to the ISS was smooth and issue free. The supply ship has now successfully docked with the ISS.
The docking procedure was fully automated with the ship’s computer guiding it to the rendezvous with the space station. The computer aboard the Progress vessel was able to fire thrusters when needed to dock with the ISS Zvezda module using radar guidance.
A tweet from the ISS offered a video that shows the spacecraft at a distance of 4km from the ISS as it was preparing to dock. Cameras aboard the Progress resupply ship show what it saw when the ISS was spotted from a distance of 1km. Crew member cosmonaut Sergey Prokopiev was on had watching the docking progress in case he had to take over operations.
The process was also being watched by specialists on the ground for any signs of potential trouble, none were found. The docking occurred while the ISS was orbiting over Algeria.
Aboard the Progress was 2.5 tons of cargo that included 725kg of fuel, 420kg of water, scientific gear, spare parts, food, clothing, and other items for the crew members. One interesting tidbit about this resupply mission is that it docked only two days ahead of the ISS celebrating its 20th anniversary in orbit.