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Final Undocking of Russian Progress M-21M Spacecraft (video, photo)

Final Undocking of Russian Progress M-21M Spacecraft

MOSCOW, June 09. /ITAR-TASS/. Russia’s Progress M-21M cargo spacecraft undocked from the International Space Station (ISS) before being deorbited and later sunk in the remote area of the Pacific Ocean, spokesperson for the Russian Mission Control said on Monday.

“The undocking took place as scheduled at 17:30 Moscow time (13:30 GMT),” the spokesperson said. “Progress thrusters will be switched on for the slowdown at 20:34 Moscow time (16:34 GMT) and at 21:23 Moscow time (17:23 GMT) the unburned fragments of the spacecraft will be sunk in the non-navigation area of the Pacific Ocean.”

The non-navigation area at the issue is also referred to as the “spaceship cemetery” and is located not far from the Christmas Island. This is a designated area, where numerous spacecraft, including the defunct Soviet space station Mir, were sunk.

Progress M-21M blasted off from the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan on November 26, 2013 and docked with the ISS four days later.

Russia’s Progress-family space freighters have been serving the ISS for decades and are used not only to bring cargo and food to the station but to adjust the orbit of the ISS as well. The station’s orbit is adjusted regularly to ensure safe docking of the freighters and manned spacecraft as well as to avoid possible collision with space debris.

The next Russian freighter, Progress M-24M, is scheduled to lift off from the Baikonur space center on July 24.

The current crew working at the ISS comprises Russia’s Maxim Surayev, NASA’s Gregory Wiseman and European Space Agency’s astronaut Alexander Gerst.