September 23, 2019
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Russia's Soyuz capsule with Fedor robot on board docks at ISS on 2nd attempt

Moscow, Aug 27 (efe-epa).- The Soyuz MS-14 spacecraft, with the Russian Fedor robot as its only crew member, docked Tuesday at the International Space Station, after an earlier attempt at the weekend failed, the Mission Control Center said.

After almost 72 hours of tense waiting, the Soyuz capsule docked to the port of the Russian Zvezda Service Module of the orbital platform at 6.08am Moscow time (03:08 GMT), five minutes before schedule.

The Russian space agency decided the Soyuz would be attached to another port after a technical failure in the ISS during Saturday's maneuver, which its crew are yet to fix.

To free the port, another Soyuz, the MS-13, had to be moved on Monday to the Poisk module, which is also located in the Russian segment of the space station.

Since Saturday the Soyuz carrying Fedor remained at a safe distance of about 300 meters (984 feet) from the ISS.

In the case the Soyuz MS-14 failed to dock at the station within a few days, it may have had to be sunk in the ocean.

The Soyuz MS-14 was launched on Thursday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, with the first Russian robot Fedor, which is short for Final Experimental Demonstration Object Research. The robot is expected to remain at the station for 14 days.

The Russian space agency, Roscosmos, has set up several experiments for Fedor, which the robot will report on its Twitter and Instagram account, before returning to Earth.

Fedor's trip into space was advertised with much fanfare in Russia and it is expected to return to the station in 2021.

The robot has also been chosen to pilot the new Russian spacecraft "Federation," whose launch has been postponed until 2022, and it could become the first to travel to the moon.

Vladimir Soloviov, head of flight missions of the Russian segment, said they had decided to postpone the repair of the Russian-made Kurs docking system — the failure of which prevented docking on Saturday — owing to the difficulty of the operation.

The ISS is currently manned by the Russians Alexsey Ovchinin and Alexander Skvortsov, Americans Andrew Morgan, Nick Hague and Christina Koch, and the Italian astronaut of the European Space Agency, Luca Parmitano. EFE-EPA


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