A few hours ago, the Progress MS-23 spacecraft blasted off atop a Soyuz 2.1a rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. After about nine minutes it successfully separated from the rocket’s last stage and was placed on its ultra-fast track in its resupply mission to the International Space Station also called Progress 84 or 84P. After almost 3.5 hours it reached the International Space Station docking with its Poisk module. The ultra-fast track requires very precise maneuvering and a favorable position of the Station. For this reason, it wasn’t used in the previous two Russian resupply missions.
The Progress MS-23 cargo spacecraft is carrying a total of about 2,500 kilograms (about 5,500 pounds) of various types of supplies including food, water, air, oxygen, propellant, and more such as a series of products for the International Space Station crew, various science experiments, tools, and various hardware. In the next hours, the Station’s crew is scheduled to open the hatch and start unloading the cargo.
Collaborations between space agencies and universities are becoming increasingly common, also for educational purposes, since they enable students to work on the construction of satellites. That’s happening in Russia as well and among the cargoes transported by the Progress MS-23 cargo spacecraft, there’s also a nanosatellite built by students at the Bauman Moscow State Technical University. It’s intended to test a technology for deploying a solar sail and will be deployed into orbit by a cosmonaut during a future spacewalk.
The mission of the Progress MS-23 cargo spacecraft is accomplished. In fact, it can’t return to Earth, so it will be filled with hardware that failed or otherwise became unusable and assorted junk and will disintegrate returning into the Earth’s atmosphere. This mission epilogue will probably take place in November 2023, although in these cases, the dates are always tentative since they also depend on other activities that may have higher priorities.