Cosmonauts dock Russian Progress cargo ship to ISS after autopilot glitch

Cosmonauts dock Russian Progress cargo ship to ISS after autopilot glitch

Russian cosmonauts on the International Space Station (ISS) took manual control of an incoming cargo ship carrying tons of supplies after its automated rendezvous system suffered a glitch. 

The unpiloted cargo ship, called Progress 86, docked to the station’s Russian-built Poisk module under remote control by Roscosmos cosmonauts Oleg Kononenko and Nikolai Chub, who tracked its approach from inside the ISS. Kononenko took control of the cargo ship remotely using a system called TORU, while the Progress 86 craft was flying around the station at a range of about 150 meters, apparently due to an issue with the cargo ship’s own Kurs automated rendezvous system.

The Russian Progress 86 cargo ship approaches the International Space Station during docking operations on Dec. 3, 2023. (Image credit: NASA TV)

“During the flyaround, the Progress vehicle started drifting away from the expected attitude and was not aligned with the docking target,” NASA spokesperson Anna Schneider said during live commentary. “The crew aboard the International Space Station has taken over manual control and recovered the expected attitude.” 

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