An unpiloted Russian Progress space freighter loaded with nearly 3 tons of supplies and equipment bound for the International Space Station blasted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakstan on Thursday and safely docked at the lab complex after last-second concern about a possible misalignment.
Carrying out an autonomous approach, the Progress MS-15/76P spacecraft docked at the Earth-facing Pirs module at 1:45 p.m. ET. An apparent misalignment as the spacecraft closed in prompted cosmonaut Anatoly Ivanishin to ask Russian flight controllers if he should take over and fly the ship manually by remote control.
"Are we going to switch to manual control, Moscow?" Ivanishin asked as the Progress moved within 15 feet of the docking port. While Progress cargo ships are designed to fly themselves all the way to docking, they are equipped with systems that allow cosmonauts on board the station to take over if necessary.NASA SpaceX crew docks at space station 02:36