Progress rendezvous burns

Date: Wed Jan 17 2001 - 15:16:06 PST

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    Progess Set to Launch Thursday With Fuel to Dump Mir Into Ocean
    By Yuri Karash
    Moscow Contributing
    03:00 pm ET 
    16 January 2001 
    MOSCOW -- All systems remain go for the scheduled launch this
    week of the Progress supply ship that is to help sink the Russian
    space station Mir into the Pacific Ocean on March 6. 
    Liftoff of the Soyuz rocket that will carry Progress M1-5 into
    Earth orbit from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan is set for
    1:56:26 a.m. EST (06:56:26 GMT) Thursday. 
    Unlike similar spacecraft used before to bring supplies -- such
    as food and clothing --to Mir for its continuing operation,
    Progress M1-5 is taxiing an increased amount of fuel, which will
    be burned while Progress is docked with Mir to force the station
    out of orbit. 
    Another difference from previous Progress missions is that this
    spacecraft is to dock with Mir four days after launch instead of
    two days, which is the more normal flight plan. 
    The reason: Progress won't have to use up as much fuel chasing
    Mir in four days as it would flying the two-day plan. 
    If all goes well with the launch, Progress is to dock with Mir at
    2:58 a.m. EST (07:58 GMT) next Monday. 
    According to mission controllers in Moscow, when Progress docks
    with Mir the station will be circling Earth once every 90.4
    minutes at an altitude of 184 by 194 statute miles (297 by 313
    For the more technically inclined, the table below details the
    engine firings the Progress is scheduled to make so that it can
    catch up to Mir and dock. 
    Engine start times are Eastern Standard Time and the duration is
    in seconds. Velocity change is expressed in feet per second (fps)
    and meters per second (mps). Resulting orbit after a burn, or
    series of two burns, shows statute miles (m) and kilometers (km),
    while the orbital period is expressed in minutes. 
    Save the station 
    Meanwhile, although the Progress is about begin its journey into
    space to seal Mir's fate, some Russian scientists still are
    looking for ways to rescue the 15-year-old station at the last
    According to Georgy Shutov, president of the interregional public
    organization "Independent Scientists," one of the potential
    rescue measures would be to install electric rocket engines on
    Such engines have already been invented by Russian scientists,
    tested and patented, according to Shutov. They would be powered
    by the energy generated by solar panels manufactured of a super
    lightweight sub-nuclear film. 
    Shutov believes that such an engine could be manufactured for use
    at Mir in no more than six months and at a total cost of no more
    than 3 million rubles, or a little over $105,000. 
    Progress Mission Timeline
    Date    Time        Duration    Velocity Change     Resulting
    Orbit       Orbit Period
    01-18   5:46:35 a.m.    146 sec.    34 fps (10.3 mps)
    01-18   9:30.14 a.m.    127 sec.    29.5 fps (9.0 mps)      140
    x 170 m (226 x 274 km)  89.2 min.
    01-19   2:47.15 p.m 6.1 sec.    6.6 fps (2.0 mps)       142
    x 170 m (229 x 273 km)  89.2 min.
    01-20   1:05:56 a.m.    28 sec. 6.6 fps (2.0 mps)       143 x 170 m
    (231 x 273 km)  89.3 min.
    01-21   12:54.01 a.m.   48 sec. 11 fps (3.4 mps)
    01-21   1:49:57 a.m.    196 sec.    45.6 fps (13.9 mps)     158
    x 185 m (255 x 298 km)  89.9  min.  
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