Deorbiting of Progress MS-21 spacecraft postponed: Russian Roscosmos
The Progress MS-21 spacecraft has not shown any visible damage since it undocked from the International Space Station.
The Progress MS-21 spacecraft's deorbiting has been postponed, according to a statement issued by Russia's Roscosmos State Corporation on Saturday.
"The deorbiting of Progress MS-21 has been postponed. A government commission will make a decision on its further flight program later today. There are two options: either dock it to Russia’s Prichal nodal module so that the cause of depressurization in its cooling system can be figured out or deorbit it," the statement read.
The Progress MS-21 spacecraft has been undocked from the International Space Station with no visible damage. "After the Progress MS-21 cargo spacecraft undocked from the International Space Station’s Poisk mini-research module, the footage was made of its exterior surface and no visual damage was detected," the statement read.
The spacecraft was unmoored on Saturday from the International Space Station. Following the undocking, Russian cosmonauts switched the space freighter into teleoperation mode to photograph the damaged areas.
Progress MS-21 experienced a pressure drop on February 11. The spacecraft was disconnected from the ISS, and the crew members of the space station went about their business as usual.
Roscosmos CEO Yury Borisov announced on February 13 the formation of an emergency commission to investigate all possible causes of the depressurization.
Earlier this month, Russian space agency Roscosmos confirmed that the Proton-M rocket successfully launched into space, carrying the fourth Elektro–L meteorological satellite, from the Russian-leased Baikonur spaceport in Kazakhstan.
When it reaches low Earth orbit, the upper stage of the Proton-M launch vehicle, called the Blok DM, should release the satellite at an altitude of 35,400 kilometers. After it separates, the satellite is due to arrive automatically at a geostationary orbit.
Last month, the head of the country's state space corporation Roscosmos, Yuri Borisov, said Russia must have at least 1,000 satellites in orbit by 2023, up from the current 200.
"In our opinion, we should have a constellation of at least 1,000 satellites by 2030," Borisov said at the Korolev Academic Space Conference in Moscow. He added that Russia's current satellite production is "insufficient".
Russia currently has about 200 satellites in orbit and must begin producing 250 spacecraft annually in order to reach this five-fold increase by 2030, according to the CEO of Roscosmos, taking into account the gradual replacement of spent satellites already in orbit.
The 1,000 satellite target should vary in function and perform communication, remote sensing, weather monitoring, and navigation tasks.