The Soyuz 2-1a launch of Progress MS-01 took place from the Baikonur Cosmodrome near Tyuratam in Kazakhstan at 0844 GMT on 21 December 2015. The spacecraft is the first of a new Progress-MS design which is an improved variant of the venerable Progress freighter spacecraft that is used to deliver cargo to International Space Station (ISS). The cargo-carrying spacecraft used a “slow” two day approach to the ISS. Progress MS-01 docked with the Poisk module of the ISS at 0932 GMT on 23 December 2015
The improvements over previous Progress designs include the use of an external compartment to deploy satellites, new back up electrical motors for the docking and sealing mechanism, and additional panels in the cargo compartment for micrometeoroid protection. The telemetry and navigation systems have also been revised including a new digital communication system with an enhanced TV camera view for the docking operations.