Russian cargo ship Progress MS-21 undocks from space station
(Update 1: updates with fresh info from Roscosmos)
Moscow, Feb 18 (EFE).- Russian cargo ship Progress MS-21, which recently suffered a loss of air-pressure, on Saturday undocked from the International Space Station, Russian space agency Roscosmos said.
After undocking at 2.26 am, the cosmonauts onboard the ISS manually turned the special spaceship to take photos of the point where the outer surface had been presumably damaged.
However, Roscosmos announced that the ship’s scheduled exit from its orbit – at 4.03 am – and the eventual planned crash into the Pacific Ocean had been postponed.
The agency said that after undocking from the Poisk module of the ISS, the outer surface of Progress MS-21 did not show any visible damage upon inspection.
It added that a decision on how to proceed with the cargo ship would be taken later on Saturday.
In this regard: two options are being weighed: docking Progress with Russian nodal module Prichal at the ISS to further clarify the loss of air pressure in the coolant mechanism or its exit from the orbit and reentry into the Earth’s atmosphere before destruction.
The supply ship is carrying some objects that are no longer required on the space platform and need to be trashed.
On Feb. 11, a drop in air-pressure had been detected inside the cargo ship.
The causes behind the pressure leak are still being investigated.
Roscosmos director general Yury Borisov said on Feb 13 that the agency had established an emergency committee to probe the matter.
On Feb. 14, the supposed source of the leak was examined with the help of a robotic arm from the United States-controlled part of the ISS.
The images obtained by this process are being studied.
Progress MS-21 had docked with the space platform in October to supply 2.5 tons of water, fuel and food for the astronauts living in space. EFE