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Saturday, 11 July 2009

What's Following the International Space Station?

Space Weather News for July 8, 2009

WHAT'S FOLLOWING THE ISS? Sky watchers are reporting a "mysterious satellite" following the International Space Station (ISS). It trails the ISS by about one minute, relatively faint, but definitely there. Mystery solved: The follower is Progress 33, a Russian supply ship. On July 12th, it will come within meters of the space station to test a new automated docking system. Check the Simple Satellite Tracker for flyby times and get two spaceships for the price of one:

I've seen this following the ISS these past nights-its about 1 Minute behind the ISS and shows up reasonably clearly in Binoculars...
10-07-2009 Progress M-02M: Test Rendezvous
   Test rendezvous with the with the International Space Station is planned for the Progress M-02M cargo supply vehicle on July 12. The operation will be carried out to check proper functioning of the new space port on the Zvezda-SM transfer compartment.
   This port is intended for mini-research module MRM-2 to be launched in Nov. this year.
   The vehicle will perform automatic approach to the station up to the distance of 10-15 m from the docking port. Then the departure command will be issued. The first depart activation of the Progress M-02M thrusters will be done at 21:10 Moscow time (17:10 GMT).
   MCC Press Office
10-07-2009 Progress M-02M Mission is Close to the End
   Progress M-02M cargo supply vehicle will be deorbited and drowned at 20:28 Moscow time (16:28 GMT) on July 13 in the defined area of the Pacific. Progress` fragments are expected to fall down appr. 3400 km to the East from Wellington, New Zealand. Russian Federal Space Agency took all necessary precautions in order to define this area of the Pacific as temporarily dangerous for ships and airplanes.
   Progress M-02M departured from the International Space Station on June 30.
   Roscosmos Press Office

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