Progress MS-10 arrives at ISS
A Russian cargo mission departed Baikonur Cosmodrome to deliver fuel and other supplies to the International Space Station, ISS. A Soyuz FG rocket with the Progress MS-10 spacecraft lifted off on Nov. 16, 2018, at 21:14 Moscow Time (1:14 p.m. EDT). The launch also marked the return to flight of the Soyuz-FG rocket variant after its launch failure with the Soyuz MS-10 spacecraft on Oct. 11, 2018. The cargo ship successfully docked at ISS on November 18.
Progress MS-10 mission at a glance:
Preparing the mission
Soyuz-FG rocket with Progress MS-10 is being installed on the launch pad on Nov. 14, 2018.
As of 2014, the launch of Progress MS-10 was expected on Feb. 22, 2018. By the second half of 2017, the mission had slipped to August 2018 and it was later postponed to Sept. 14 and Oct. 11, 2018. By June 2018, the launch was rescheduled to October 31, but in the wake of the Soyuz MS-10 accident it had to be postponed until November 16. By October 26, the launch was planned for November 16, at 21:14 Moscow Time.
On Nov. 6, 2018, Roskosmos announced that the technical management had cleared Progress MS-10 for loading of propellant and pressurized gases into the ship's KDU propulsion system and the refueling section. The fueling (considered to be an irreversible operation) was conducted on November 6 and 7 and it was completed successfully. The spacecraft was delivered back to the processing building at Site 254 and installed into its test rig for final operations. On November 10, Progress MS-10 was integrated with a ring adapter, designed to connect it to its Soyuz-FG launch vehicle.
The final inspection of the spacecraft, the installation of the payload fairing and the transfer of the completed payload section to the launch vehicle assembly building at Site 112 was conducted on November 12. Next day, the payload section was integrated with its Soyuz-FG launch vehicle, which was rolled out to Site 1 and installed on the launch pad on the morning of Nov. 14, 2018.
Cargo and supplies
According to RKK Energia, Progress MS-10 carried around 2.5 tons of supplies to the station, including 1.3 tons of dry cargo, 725 kilograms of propellant in its refueling section, 420 kilograms of water in the tanks of the Rodnik system, as well as 50 kilograms of air in pressurized tanks. The cargo section contained containers with food, clothing, medical supplies and hygiene items for the crew, RKK Energia said.
Among non-standard items, Roskosmos listed a fresh copy of a bio-printer to replace a similar machine lost in the Soyuz MS-10 accident, as well as a "smart shelf," UM, designed to catalog stored items and relay this data to cosmonauts' portable computers. The cargo ship also carried a control avionics unit to provide a broad-band communications on the Russian Segment via an already installed high-gain antenna on the Zvezda Service Module, SM. A cosmonaut Sergei Prokopiev, from the Soyuz MS-09 crew, was also reported requesting a specialty honey, which his family members put in his personal parcel.
Progress MS-10 lifts off
A Soyuz-FG rocket carrying the Progress MS-10 cargo ship lifted off from Site 1 in Baikonur toward the International Space Station, ISS, on Nov. 16, 2018, at 21:14:08.754 Moscow Time (18:14 GMT, 1:14 p.m. EST). According to Roskosmos, the spacecraft had the following orbital ascent timeline:
After the successful liftoff, Russian mission control announced that the spacecraft had separated from the third stage of the launch vehicle at 21:22:56 Moscow Time. According to preliminary calculations, the spacecraft had entered a close-to-planned orbit with the following parameters, mission control said:
Rendezvous and docking with the station
Progress MS-10 flew a two-day rendezvous profile with the station, aiming to complete an automated docking on Nov. 18, 2018, at 22:29 Moscow Time.
A Russian cosmonaut Sergei Prokopiev, from the Soyuz MS-09 crew, was assigned to monitor the rendezvous aboard the station, ready to take over the approach using the TORU remote-control system in the unlikely event of the automated rendezvous failure.
The final approach operation was expected according to the following timeline:
Progress MS-10 approached the station nearly as planned and completed a 110-degree flyaround of the station to align itself with the aft port on the service module. After a short station-keeping period, the final approach had been initiated.
The successful contact between the cargo ship and the station took place at 22:28:03 Moscow Time (2:28 p.m. EST) on November 18, when the two spacecraft were flying over Algeria in a 425.8 by 402.4-kilometer orbit with an orbital period of 92.6 minutes and an inclination of 51.7 degrees toward the Equator. The mechanical docking was completed within next few minutes, along the following timelines, according to the mission control in Korolev:
The opening of hatches into the dray cargo section of the spacecraft took place at 02:08 Moscow Time (on November 19) after leak checks in the docking port, which continued for around two orbits.
Progress MS-10 returns to the spacecraft processing building on Nov. 8, 2018, after fueling operations. Click to enlarge. Credit: RKK Energia
Progress MS-10 is being integrated with a launch vehicle adapter. Click to enlarge. Credit: RKK Energia
Progress MS-10 is being rolled inside its payload fairing on Nov. 12, 2018. Click to enlarge. Credit: RKK Energia
A long-exposure shot captures the ascent trajectory of the Progress MS-10 spacecraft on Nov. 17, 2018. Click to enlarge. Credit: RKK Energia
First stage boosters separate from Soyuz-FG rocket on Nov. 16, 2018. Click to enlarge. Credit: Roskosmos
Separation of the payload fairing as seen by an onboard camera. Credit: Roskosmos
Progress separates from the launch vehicle as seen by a camera on the rocket's third stage. Credit: Roskosmos
Progress MS-08 approaches ISS on Nov. 18, 2018. Click to enlarge. Credit: NASA