London, UK -- (ReleaseWire) -- 11/09/2012 -- A cargo ship from Russia did not make it to the International Space Station as planned on July 23rd. According to reports from NASA officials, this was due to the ship experiencing an operational failure. The ship, called Progress 47, was to be used as part of a trial process for a new docking system developed in Russia, named Kurs-NA. Motorholme experts have said that the cargo ship was unmanned and had been undocked near to the station for over a day. It was expected to have docked on the port of the station by 9:57pm on the 23rd.
Progress 47 is currently awaiting another chance to dock itself, which Motorholme states will be in about seven days’ time. The new docking system was meant to serve as a replacement for the Kurs system, which the Russian Space team has been using for several decades. Upgraded electronics had been installed, and the system was expected to be significantly more energy efficient than its predecessor.
NASA officials made a public statement about the incident, in which they explained that the new docking system had been going well up until the cargo ship had needed to dock. Electronic commands had been issued, which should have activated the system however these commands were not picked up by the system and as a result of this it triggered a ‘passive abort’ signal. This, Motorholme experts say, is an automated safety signal which ensures that the space station remains safe in the event of a malfunctioning spacecraft, by directing, in this instance, the cargo ship away from the station and preventing a crash.
When the cargo ship failed to respond to electronic commands on the 23rd, this signal steered it away from the space station, until it was 1.8 miles from the docking platform. The RFSA (Russian Federal Space Agency) has stated that the docking will now have to be postponed until another cargo ship, developed in Japan arrives at the station and docks itself. This ship, called the H-2 Transfer Vehicle 3, will be arriving on July 27th, according to reports made by Motorholme.
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