Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Progress M1-3 Arrival

Progress (Прогресс) M1-3 was the first cargo transport spacecraft to visit the ISS.  Also known as Progress 1P, the spacecraft is a variant of the Progress-M, designed to carry cargo, along with propellant used by the Zarya and Zvezda modules' station-keeping engines.

Progress M1-3 was launched atop a Soyuz-U rocket at Site 1/5 of the Baikonur Cosmodrome on August 6, 2000.  The spacecraft autonomously docked with the aft port of Zvezda on August 8. Cargo was unloaded from the spacecraft by and STS-106 and STS-92 shuttle crews visiting the station in late September and October.  The spacecraft was undocked, de-orbited and subsequently burned up in the atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean on November 1, 2000.  The first ISS crew, Expedition 1, arrived at the station the next day aboard  the first Soyuz spacecraft to visit the station, Soyuz TM-31, docking at the recently-vacated Zvezda aft port.

The Progress M kit consists of two pages and is free for download from AXM.  The accompanying instruction manual is 19 pages and contains instructions for assembling both the Progress and Soyuz spacecraft.  The Progress M kit includes insignia used by all Progress M flights to the ISS.

I started the build by cutting and assembling the spherical cargo module.  There are 4 rings that make up this section.  AXM indicates that time should be taken to glue each section and allow it to thoroughly dry before moving to the next ring in order to achieve the best shape.  I followed AXM's prescribed advice and was very pleased with the outcome!

Next, I cut out, curved, and joined the storage tank and propulsion module sections of the spacecraft.  I detached and overlapped the glue tab for each in order to achieve a flush seam. I also used a black color pencil on all join edges to reduce appearance of the seams. I then glued and attached all three parts together.

I then proceeded to cut out the booster attachment structure and scored the backside of each connector tooth in order to obtain a smooth bend along the top edge and bottom flange of the booster attachment.

I then cut vertical slits at prescribed locations on the propulsion module section to accommodate insertion of the solar panels.  I cut out the solar panels and glued them together making sure to precisely align the edges of each half.  I allowed enough time for the glue to dry and then used an orange color pencil on all edges of the assembled solar panel.  Next, I inserted the solar panel though the vertical slits and then glued the bottom attitude control engine plate to the bent teeth.

Building upon my success with adding realism to Zvezda build using layering, I layered certain parts onto the attitude control engine plate in order to achieve some depth. Raising the height of key elements on this section certainly added to the realism!

Next, I attached the docking port ring, service port hatches, horizon sensors, docking camera, and large Kurs antenna shields.  I embellished the printed forward, side, and aft Kurs antennas using tips of a bamboo skewer painted white to introduce more depth and realism.

I then assembled the forward-facing Kurs-1 and Kurs-2 antennas and attached them underneath the large Kurs shields.

I concluded the build by assembling the docking mechanism and inserting it into the top of the spacecraft.  I placed a magnet under the docking probe tip in order to facilitate future docking of the spacecraft (re-branded to coincide with follow-on missions) to the nadir and zenith docking ports on Zvezda and Zarya. 

 Progress M1-3 has since been docked to Zvezda's aft port.

The next component in the assembly sequence is the Z1 Truss.  Stay tuned!

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