Progress 47 Leaves Space Station for a Fiery Return to Earth

First Posted: Aug 01, 2012 08:37 AM EDT

The Russian robotic space craft made its final departure from the international space station after spending several months attached to the orbiting outpost in a second attempt to test an updated space docking system.

Progress 47 spacecraft successfully completed the docking test on it second try, after the first attempt that turned out to be a failure due to technical problems.

It was on July 22 that Progress 47 initially undocked from space station. The robotic Russian Progress 47 spacecraft re-docked to the space station to test the new Kurs-NA docking system. The cargo ship that safely approached the station and was expected to  automatically attach itself to the Pirs docking compartment on the Russian segment of the massive orbiting laboratory at 9:01 p.m. ET (0101 GMT July 29). Russia intends to use the Kurs-NA docking system on future unmanned Progress spacecraft and manned Soyuz vehicles.

The Progress 47 arrived at the space station in April to deliver clothing, food and other supplies to the astronauts 

Russia's disposable vehicles are used to ferry clothing, food and other supplies to the International Space Station. This cargo is parked at the outpost for several months. At the end of their mission, the Progress vehicles are undocked from the station and purposefully sent to a burning end as they fly back down through Earth's atmosphere. 

"After the project is completed the space freighter will be de-orbited and sunk in the Pacific," Mission Control announced.

The next Russian cargo ship, Progress 48, is slated to launch to the space station Wednesday (Aug. 1) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. 

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