Russia Has a New Plan to Dock a Soyuz on the Area Station After an Surprising Abort

Russia’s house company Roscosmos has a brand new plan to dock an unpiloted Soyuz capsule on the Worldwide Area Station after the primary try failed on Saturday (Aug. 24) and it should require a spaceship shuffle. 

Roscosmos now goals to dock the Soyuz spacecraft, known as MS-14, on the house station Monday (Aug. 26) on the aft finish of the outpost’s Russian-built Zvezda service module. Docking is scheduled for Monday evening at 11:12 p.m. EDT  (0312 Aug. 25 GMT). 

However there’s only one hitch: One other spacecraft is already parked on the Zvezda port. 

That different spacecraft is Soyuz MS-13, which arrived on the house station July 20 with Russian cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov, NASA astronaut Drew Morgan and European Area Company astronaut Luca Parmitano. To ensure that Soyuz MS-14 to park on the Zvezda port, Soyuz MS-13 goes to have to maneuver. 

And that is precisely what the Skvortsov and his crewmates will do. 

Video: Watch the Soyuz Docking Abort as It Occurred

Soyuz spacecraft shuffle

On Sunday evening (Aug. 25), Svortsov, Morgan and Parmitano will don their Sokol strain fits, climb inside Soyuz MS-13 and take it on a brief 25-minute flight to a different station docking port. If all goes effectively, Svortskov will park the craft on the space-facing Poisk module on the station’s Russian section at 11:59 p.m. EDT (0359 Aug. 26 GMT). 

It was that very same Poisk module that the uncrewed Soyuz MS-14 tried to park itself at on Saturday, coming inside 328 ft (100 meters) of the station earlier than failing to lock on to the module in the course of the remaining strategy. In the end, station commander Alexey Ovchinin of Roscosmos commanded the spacecraft to abort the docking try and again away to a secure distance. 

“The unpiloted Soyuz is at the moment orbiting a secure distance from the ISS with all of its techniques functioning usually,” NASA officers stated in an announcement Saturday. “The six crewmembers on board the station have been by no means in any hazard in the course of the preliminary rendezvous try.”

Roscosmos officers consider the Soyuz MS-14 docking failed due to a nasty sign amplifier on the station that’s a part of an automatic rendezvous system, known as Kurs, which is used for navigation by visiting Russian automobiles. 

Cosmonauts will change the suspect sign amplifier over the weekend. And even when one thing does go flawed with the Soyuz MS-13 docking on the Poisk module, Skvortsov can all the time take guide management and fly it in on his personal. 

That wasn’t doable for Soyuz MS-14 as a result of the unpiloted automobile doesn’t have a human crew. There was no commander able to take guide management throughout Saturday’s failed docking. And whereas Russia’s robotic Progress cargo ships might be remotely piloted by cosmonauts on the house station with a system known as TORU, the Soyuz automobile doesn’t have such a system since they usually all the time have human crews aboard. 

A uncommon Soyuz take a look at flight

Soyuz MS-14 is the primary Soyuz with no crew to ever to go to the Worldwide Area Station. Russia launched the spacecraft on a Soyuz 2.1a rocket, a variant of the Soyuz booster that’s usually used to fly uncrewed Progress spacecraft. (Soyuz crew capsules need to date launched on older Soyuz FG boosters.) 

This Soyuz take a look at flight is primarily aimed toward testing the compatibility of the crew capsule with the revamped Soyuz 2.1a rocket, NASA officers have stated. However whereas this can be a take a look at flight, that does not imply Soyuz MS-14 will arrive on the  station empty handed. 

Packed aboard the Soyuz are 1,450 lbs. (658 kilograms) of meals and different provides for the six members of the station’s present Expedition 60 crew. There may be even a robotic passenger aboard: the humanoid Russian robotic Skybot F-850

Roscosmos outfitted the robotic with sensors to measure how a Soyuz launch on a 2.1a rocket would possibly have an effect on human crewmembers throughout flight. Cosmonauts on the station will even use the Skybot F-850 for a collection of expertise experiments in orbit earlier than packing the robotic again into the Soyuz for the return journey dwelling. 

Go to Area.com to look at the Soyuz swap and MS-14 docking on Area.com, courtesy of NASA TV, starting Sunday evening at 11 p.m. EDT (0300 GMT). 

Correction: An earlier model of this story acknowledged that Russian cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov will dock the Soyuz MS-13 spacecraft on the house station’s Poisk module Sunday at 11:34 p.m. EDT. The docking will happen at 11:59 p.m. EDT (0359 GMT). 

Electronic mail Tariq Malik at tmalik@house.com or observe him @tariqjmalik. Comply with us @Spacedotcom and Fb.

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