The Russian spacecraft Progress MS-17 began last Wednesday night (20th) its change of docking point on the International Space Station (ISS). By the end of the 22nd, the vehicle launched from Earth in 2021 must be repositioned to the Nauka module, attached to the station in July this year.

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The process began at 20:42 pm (GMT) on Wednesday, with the autonomous driving system of the ship detaching itself from the Poisk module and moving away from the station to a distance of almost 200 meters. Since then, the Progress MS-17 has been carrying out static stabilization maneuvers, awaiting the readiness of the new docking point on the ISS.

The Progress ship MS-17 is on its way to the Nauka module on the ISS, where it should stay for about a month. Afterwards, it will be directed to the Earth's atmosphere, where it will burn completely (Image: Roscosmos/Publishing)

The idea is for the docking to be done at 1:43 am on Friday. The progress of the action will be overseen by cosmonauts Pyotr Dubrov and Anton Shkaplerov of the russian space agency (Roscosmos). The two are trained to take care of the situation should something unforeseen occur, but the plan is for the ship's own system to handle the change itself.

The "room change", however, won't be long: attached to the ISS since July this year, the Progress MS-17 should stay at the new docking point for just under a month - the ship is expected to return to Earth in final character by the end of November.

"Returning to Earth", however, is just a way of saying that the ship will not stay at the station: in fact, once its supplies have been depleted, the cosmonauts will load it with materials to be discarded, directing it to ours. atmosphere, where the reentry process will burn it out completely. This is the fate of all Progress ships, by the way.

Interestingly, Progress's departure would leave the Nauka module with a modular connection point (called the “HDA connection”) that, in theory, would allow it to expand the country's presence on the ISS. However, this may not even be taken advantage of, as Russia has confirmed its wish to leave the station for good still in this decade, after more than 20 years working together with North American and European astronauts.

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