Has there been any damage incurred during a rendevouz of two spacecraft? I was reading the answer to this question and starting realizing the sheer number of things that could still go wrong even if you match the trajectories correctly and actually meet up. Has any equipment been damaged during docking procedures or has anything catastrophically failed during a docking?


2 Answers 2


Yes !

During an experimental docking manœuvre, a Progress spacecraft crashed into Mir and rendered the Spektr module uninhabitable.

On June 25, 1997, the Progress M-34 spacecraft crashed into Spektr while doing an experimental docking maneuver with the Kvant-1 module. The collision damaged one of Spektr's solar arrays and punctured the hull, causing a relatively slow leak. The crew had enough time to install a hatch cover and seal the module off to prevent depressurization of the entire Mir station. To seal the module, the crew had to remove the cables that were routed through the (open) hatchway, including the power cables from Spektr's solar panels

Several Mir crews tried to fix the leak, but failed.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I've expanded the answer $\endgroup$
    – Heopps
    Aug 18, 2018 at 6:58

The collision of Progress-34 with Spektr was the most severe.

But to complement, several minor incidents during docking occured too.

From russianspaceweb.com

March 21, 1991: Progress M-7 near miss

Following a first aborted attempt to dock, the Progress M-7 cargo ship controlled from the ground, tried again only to zoom within meters from the station, narrowly avoiding the collision. The rendezvous problems reoccur as Mir crew redocks its Soyuz TM-11 spacecraft to the rear docking port on Mir's Kvant-1 module. The problem is finally traced to the Kurs rendezvous system onboard Mir, which has one of its antennas missing.

January 14, 1994: Soyuz TM-17 collides with Mir

As the departing Russo-French crew conducts overflight inspection of the station, their Soyuz TM-17 spacecraft hits the Kristall module on Mir at least twice. Following the successful landing of the crew, the ground processing teams discover a number of "souvenirs" taken by the crew from the station, which exceed the weight limit allowed onboard the Soyuz during landing. The Russian investigation team suggests that excessive weight onboard the craft not only endangered the crew during landing, but it could also contribute to the problems with the attitude control system during the overflight of the station and therefore make the collision with the station more likely

Also ISS Zvezda module's aft hatch was sligtly damaged in 2001. Expedition 3 crew conducted an inspection and removed some debris to clear it for next docking.


Dezhurov and Tyurin removed an obstruction that prevented a Progress resupply ship from firmly docking with the International Space Station. They also took pictures of the debris, which was a rubberized seal from the previous cargo ship, and of the docking interface.


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