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Progress M-7

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Progress M-7

Progress M-7 was a Soviet unmanned cargo spacecraft which was launched in 1991 to resupply the Mir space station.[1] The twenty-fifth of sixty four Progress spacecraft to visit Mir, it used the Progress-M 11F615A55 configuration,[2] and had the serial number 208.[3] It carried supplies including food, water and oxygen for the EO-8 crew aboard Mir, as well as equipment for conducting scientific research, and fuel for adjusting the station's orbit and performing manoeuvres. It also carried the second VBK-Raduga capsule, intended to return equipment and experiment results to Earth.

Progress M-7 was launched at 13:05:15 GMT on 19 March 1991, atop a Soyuz-U2 carrier rocket flying from Site 1/5 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome.[3] It took three attempts to dock with Mir; the first of which occurred at 14:28 GMT on 21 March, and resulted in Progress M-7 approaching to within 500 metres (1,600 ft) of Mir, before the attempt was aborted. During a second attempt on 23 March, approach was aborted when the spacecraft was 50 metres (160 ft) from Mir, however it passed within 5 metres (16 ft) before moving away to a holding position whilst the problem was investigated.[4] The first two attempts had used the aft docking port of the Kvant-1 module, however it was decided to use the forward port of the core module for the next one. At 10:12:00 GMT on 26 March, the Soyuz TM-11 spacecraft which had been occupying this port undocked from it, before flying around the station and docking with Kvant-1 at 10:58:59.[5] Progress M-7 successfully docked with Mir at 12:02:28 GMT on 28 March.[4][5]

During the 39 days for which Progress M-7 was docked, Mir was in an orbit of around 365 by 388 kilometres (197 by 210 nmi), inclined at 51.6 degrees.[6] Progress M-7 undocked from Mir at 22:59:36 GMT on 6 May, and was deorbited at 16:24:00 the next day, to a destructive reentry over the Pacific Ocean.[6][5] Its Raduga capsule, which had been deployed following the deorbit burn, came down in the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic at around 17:20 GMT, however efforts to recover it were unsuccessful.[5]

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