MOSCOW, April 21 (RIA Novosti) – The Progress M-17M cargo spacecraft, which undocked from the International Space Station on April 15, will be “buried” in the Pacific Ocean on Sunday, Russia’s Mission Control said.
“Progress’s engines will switch to the braking mode at 6:07 p.m. Moscow time [02:07 p.m. GMT] on April 21. The space freighter’s fragments that will not burn up in the Earth’s atmosphere will splash down at 6:58 p.m. Moscow time in the Pacific Ocean far from navigation routes,” Mission Control said.
The Progress M-17M arrived at the orbital station on October 31 last year. It was the second spacecraft in the history of the world orbiter’s operation that performed an accelerated docking with the ISS just under six hours after liftoff from the Baikonur Space Center in Kazakhstan. The first accelerated docking was performed by the M-16M space freighter in August 2012.
The Progress M-17M space freighter undocked from the Zvezda module of the Russian segment on the ISS on April 15 and operated in an autonomous mode in the next six days, conducting a series of scientific experiments under the Radar-Progress project.
The departure of Progress M-17M clears a docking port on the Zvezda module for the next Russian resupply vehicle, Progress M-19M, which will blast off aboard a Soyuz-U carrier rocket from the Baikonur space center on April 24.
The future of the Russian space program
With a record of more than 130 launches since 1972, Progress-family freighters remain the backbone of the Russian space cargo fleet. In addition to their main mission as cargo spacecraft, they are used to adjust the space station’s orbit and conduct scientific experiments.