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Date published: 2019-09-03
Originally published: Here. Excerpt below.

Roundup As NASA nervously eyed Hurricane Dorian, Roscosmos finally persuaded Soyuz MS-14 to dock with the ISS and India's Chandrayaan-2 enjoyed an amicable separation above the Moon.
Following a sequence of successful manoeuvres in Lunar orbit, India's Vikram lander earlier today separated from the Chandrayaan-2 orbiter ahead of descending to the Moon's surface.
The lander is in an orbit of 119km x 127km and has a few more engine firings to go. A first deorbit burn is planned for tomorrow, taking the orbit down to 109km x 120km. A second manoeuvre on 4 September will send the lander to 36km x 110km.
A powered descent on 7 September will then, if all goes well, deposit the lander on the surface for an intense bit of science (which will also see the Indian trundlebot, Pragyan, in action). The lander and rover are expected to survive a single lunar day (14 Earth days) before the lunar night ends the fun and games.
If it goes to plan, India will become the first country to soft-land something on the lunar south pole as well being the fourth country overall to set down on the regolith in one piece.
It was second time lucky for Roscosmos as the uncrewed (by humans at least) Soyuz MS-14 docked to the International Space Station (ISS). The first attempt had to be aborted after a problem with the ISS's KURS docking system.
Three ISS expedition 60 crew members boarded the Soyuz MS-13 lifeboat, already attached to the station, and relocated it to the Poisk module. On Tuesday morning (27 August), MS-14 successfully docked with the vacated aft-facing Zvezda module.
MS-14 is a test to check out how the Soyuz spacecraft and its updated software work with the Soyuz-2-1a booster. The new booster performs a roll following launch, unlike older variants, which could trigger the abort systems of the Soyuz spacecraft. Hence the test of a software update.
Roscosmos intends to start crewing the new booster in 2020.
With the ongoing delays to NASA's attempts to get the likes of Spa ...

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