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Docking requires an assist

MOSCOW — A Russian cosmonaut used a joystick to guide a modernized cargo ship to the international space station Sunday after problems with an automated system prompted a last-minute switch to a manual docking.

The Progress M-01M craft docked safely with the station on schedule, Russian Mission Control spokesman Valery Lyndin said. It delivered thousands of pounds of propellant, oxygen and water as well as equipment, hardware and holiday gifts for cosmonaut Yuri Lonchakov and his two American crewmates, Mike Fincke and Sandra Magnus.

But the docking was the first for a new model of Russia's long-serving Progress line of cargo ships — equipped with a fully digital telemetric system — and Lyndin said problems with the automatic docking procedure prompted the switch to manual docking.

Vladimir Solovyov, Russian Mission Control's flight director for the international space station, said problems emerged in the final stages of the docking procedure, including the loss of frequency information and unexpected toggling of the automatic system's tracking displays, Russian news agencies reported.

Docking requires an assist 11/30/08 [Last modified: Monday, November 7, 2011 4:45pm]
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