The Progress Spacecraft is used to cargo to the International Space Station.
The history of the Progress Spacecraft.
It was developed from the Soyuz Spacecraft. The Soyuz consists of three main sections. During launch, docking and landing operations, the crew stays inside the reentry capsule in the middle of the spacecraft, designed to withstand the heat of the reentry into the atmosphere. It is the only returnable element of the Soyuz. For landing, the capsule uses a parachute and solid motors which fire seconds before touchdown to soften the landing.
The forward section of the spacecraft adds habitable space for the crew onboard Soyuz. It also carries rendezvous antennas and an active docking port, which allows the crew to get inside the station through a system of hatches. The forward section also can serve as an airlock for the crew to work outside the spacecraft.
The aft section of Soyuz, known as the instrument-system module, contains the propulsion unit and other auxiliary systems. It also carries solar panels to supply energy to the spacecraft's systems.
The Soyuz spacecraft also became a base for the Progress cargo ship, which delivers fuel and other supplies to the space station. The Progress is capable of automatically docking to the station.
The development of Progress allowed for a dramatic increase in the duration of stays onboard space stations.
In its forward cargo section, the Progress spacecraft carries water, food and other payloads for the station's crew. The middle section is completely filled with the propellant tanks. The aft section of the Progress and Soyuz are virtually the same.
Unlike Soyuz, the Progress spacecraft is not designed to return to Earth. After unloading its cargo, the crew eventually fills Progress' front section with trash, after which the craft undocks from the station and is directed into the atmosphere to burn-up.
Progress' engines traditionally were used to boost Mir's orbit and now the ISS.
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Updated: Saturday 23rd, February, 2013