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Cosmonauts remotely guide Russian cargo ship to space station docking after guidance glitch

A Russian Progress cargo ship carrying more than 5,570 pounds of equipment and supplies docked at the International Space Station early Sunday after a two-day rendezvous. Cosmonauts working at a control station inside the lab complex remotely guided the spacecraft into port after its automated rendezvous system lost alignment during final approach.

The Progress MS-25/86P spacecraft was launched Friday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan atop a Soyuz 2.1a rocket. It is carrying 3,423 pounds of equipment and crew supplies, 88 pounds of nitrogen, 926 pounds of water and 1,135 pounds of propellant used to help maintain the station's orbit.

A view of the International Space Station taken by a video camera in the approaching Progress supply ship a few minutes before its automated rendezvous system malfunctioned. Cosmonauts inside the station then took over and remotely guided the spacecraft in for docking. NASA TV

The supply ship caught up with the space station early Sunday and was in the process of lining up for docking at the lab's space-facing Poisk module when its automated KURS rendezvous system apparently lost track of the spacecraft's precise location and orientation.

Cosmonauts Oleg Kononenko and Nikolai Chub, monitoring the approach from the station's Zvezda module, took over by remote control at the direction of Russian flight controllers and deftly guided the vehicle in for docking at 6:18 a.m. EST. Hatches were expected to be opened later in the day after extensive leak checks to verify an airtight structural seal.

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