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PROGRESS-M / MS
Early in the development of Space Stations, the Soviet designers realized that long-duration missions in Earth orbit would demand a constant supply of consumable materials from Earth.
The soviets considered different configurations of a Soyuz-derived ship adapted for cargo missions. Materials and supplies for the station crews would be placed into a pressurized section of the craft which loosely resembled the habitable module of the Soyuz. The docking port equipped with a hatch would allow the station crew to load and unload the spacecraft in a pressurized environment.
The reentry or descent module of the Soyuz, however was replaced with an unpressurized propellant and refueling compartment. This way, when docked to the station, the poisonous propellants would be stored safely outside the pressurized compartments and any leaks of gaseous supplies would have no effect on the station's atmosphere. After docking, the propellant tanks of the station and refueling tanks onboard the cargo ship would be linked up through a sophisticated refueling system.
The first craft designated #101 blasted off towards Salyut-6 space station on January 20, 1978 and was christened "Progress". In the following years, Soviet cosmonauts repeatedly broke American and their own records for long-duration missions and ultimately established almost continuous presence in space. A total 43 Progresses of the original model were launched toward the Salyut-6 and Salyut-7 space stations, and all successfully completed their missions.
For the Progress papermodel, this site is focusing on the Progress-M and M1. These are the vessels that have visited the old "MIR" Space Station and the current ISS, respectively. These Progress papermodels can attach to the ISS model via connectors which are included in the kit. Also in the kit there are several insignias in order to assemble different configurations for MIR and ISS.
The Kurs-NA first debuted during Progress M-15M (47P). During this mission, the Progress was fitted with the old Kurs-A antennas and with the new Kurs-NA antenna.
This was a retest of the Kurs-NA antenna. During this mission, the Progress 53P vessel sported the new Kurs-NA antenna only. (Like the MS configuration)
New Progress with new Kurs-NA antenna.
As of Dec 2015, the Progress spacecraft has been upgraded to the MS series. The new vessel has upgraded communications and electronics. Other upgrades include a new Kurs-A rendezvous system designated Kurs-NA.
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