Russia Buries Space Freighter in Pacific

MOSCOW, August 20 (RIA Novosti) – Russia’s Progress M-15M cargo spacecraft was sunk in a remote area in southern Pacific on Monday after a three-week scientific experiment in space, the Mission Control said.

“Fragments of the space freighter drowned at about 08.12 p.m. Moscow time [16:12 GMT] in a remote area 3,000 kilometers to the east of New Zealand,” a spokesman said.

Progress M-15M arrived with supplies at the International Space Station (ISS) in April. The freighter undocked from the ISS on July 23 to test an upgraded Russian automated rendezvous system.

The first attempt to re-dock with the ISS using the Kurs-NA system resulted in failure. The spacecraft, however, successfully docked with the orbital station on a second attempt on July 29 after Russian engineers had reprogrammed on-board controls.

At the end of its mission, the spacecraft undocked from the ISS on July 31 to conduct a three-week Radar-Progress experiment to define the physical characteristics of the ionosphere environment around the spacecraft caused by the operations of its liquid propellant engines.

Progress-series freighters have been the backbone of the Russian space cargo fleet for decades. In addition to their main mission as cargo spacecraft, they are used to adjust the ISS orbit and conduct scientific experiments.

The new generation of Progress vehicles is digitally controlled.

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