Unmanned Russian Cargo Ship Docks to ISS

An unmanned Russian cargo ship that missed its first chance to dock at the International Space Station last week tried again Sunday – this time successfully linking up with the orbiting lab.

The Progress 38 cargo ship docked flawlessly at 12:17 p.m. EDT (1617 GMT) while flying without the safety net of a remote control system that allows cosmonauts inside the space station to take command of incoming supply ships using a joystick should they veer off course.

The successful docking comes two days after the Progress 38 cargo ship's first failed docking attempt on Friday, in which the spacecraft sailed clear past the space station after aborting its delivery run, SPACE.com reports.

The space freighter was launched June 30 carrying 2.6 tons of cargo for the crew of the International Space Station.

The internationally developed research facility is still being assembled in low Earth orbit. Construction of the station began in 1998 and is scheduled for completion by late 2011. It is expected to be in operation until 2015, possibly up to 2020.

At present, the ISS is the largest human-made satellite on orbit and can be seen from Earth with the naked eye, IndyPosted says.

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