Russia's 48 Progress Sprint to the ISS a Success


Russia's Progress 48 moves within 30 meters of the ISS prior to an accelerated docking. Image Credit: NASA TV

Russia’s Progress 48 mission one day sprint to the six person International Space Station has concluded with success.
The unpiloted resupply capsule and its nearly three ton payload carried out a successful automated docking with the ISS Wednesday at 9:18 p.m., EDT, or less than six hours after the Progress 48 lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan: an ISS first.

The linkup, 250 miles over the Pacific Ocean west of South America, unfolded 7 minutes ahead of the forecast, or an elapsed time of 5 hours, 43 minutes.

The four orbit journey served as a test flight for a possible Soyuz crew transport mission to the ISS with three passengers. A crew follow on is likely at least a year away, Dina Contella, NASA’s current ISS lead flight director, said shortly before the lift off.

The Progress 48 spacecraft   rose from Central Asia at 3:35 p.m., EDT, or on Aug. 2 at 1:35 a.m., local time.

The spacecraft successfully carried out a quartet of precise rendezvous maneuvers over the first two hours, 40 minutes of flight to set up the much abbreviated rendezvous. The normal Progress cargo and Soyuz crew mission timelines unfold over 34 orbits or just over two days.

The “sprint” is intended to improve crew comfort. The longer Soyuz journey requires a steady roll of the spacecraft to manage external thermal extremes from the cold and heat of space on the capsule exterior.

In the event of an emergency shortfall of supplies on the ISS, the Progress 48 flight also demonstrates a “stat” equipment response.

The Progress 48 cargo includes fuel, water, compressed breathing air, spare parts and research gear for the station’s six-person crew.

Then new Russian freighter is expected to remain at the station until late December.

At least one more express Progress test flight, perhaps later this year, is anticipated before a Soyuz mission test of the accelerated timeline is attempted, NASA spokesman Rob Navias said from NASA’s Mission Control late Wednesday.

Please or Register to post comments.

What's On Space?

On Space

From The Archives

Aviation Week is approaching its 100th anniversary in 2016. In a series of blogs, our editors highlight editorial content from the magazine's long and rich history.


Aug 27, 2015

Aviation Week Lifts Veil On Boeing B-52 Bomber (1952) 20

In 1952, Aviation Week provided the first details on the new Boeing B-52 bomber....More
Aug 14, 2015

Bonanza Travel Pays 3

The legendary Beechcraft Bonanza has an impressive production record, so perhaps the marketers back in 1949 were onto something when they coined the phrase "Bonanza travel pays."...More
Aug 14, 2015

Venerable Boeing 727 Prototype To Fly Again 29

The most famous 727, the prototype aircraft which would join United as N7001U, was delivered to the airline in October 1964 having served its time as a Boeing test aircraft....More
Aug 13, 2015

Aviation Week And The Bomb

Aviation News did not predict how nuclear weapons would change the world. But neither did anyone else....More
Aug 13, 2015

Collins Radar Takes The Ups And Downs Out Of Flying

Turbulence? Rockwell Collins had a solution for those bumpy rides in the early 80s with its WXR-700 Doppler Weather Radar....More
Blog Archive
Penton Corporate

Sponsored Introduction Continue on to (or wait seconds) ×