Russian Progress space freighter set to undock from orbital station

Progress M-11M space freighter will undock from the International Space Station (ISS) on Tuesday to be buried in the Pacific after conducting a nine-day scientific mission, Russia’s Mission Control said.

“Russian members of Expedition 28 [on ISS] have finished loading the spacecraft with waste products from the orbital station,” the Mission Control said in a statement.

The undocking is scheduled for 01:35 pm Moscow time (09:35 GMT). The spacecraft will remain in orbit for nine days to continue the Radar-Progress experiment, aimed at defining the density, sizes and reflectivity of the ionosphere environment around the spacecraft, which is caused by the operations of its liquid propellant engines.

After completing the scientific program, the spacecraft will be deorbited and burn up in the Earth’s atmosphere. Its fragments will fall in a designated remote area of the Pacific Ocean.

The next Progress cargo craft is expected to lift off from the Baikonur Space Center in Kazakhstan on August 24 and dock with the ISS on August 26.

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’s orbit and conduct scientific experiments.

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