An unpiloted Russian cargo ship linked up the International Space Station this morning to deliver almost three tons of food, fuel, oxygen, water and supplies to the residents onboard.
The ISS Progress 15 craft automatically docked to the aft port of the Zvezda Service Module at 12:01 a.m. CDT (501 GMT) as the spaceship and the Station flew 225 statute miles over central Asia. Within minutes, hooks and latches between the two ships engaged, forming a tight seal.
As the Progress moved in for its linkup, Expedition 9 Commander Gennady Padalka was at the controls of a manual docking system in Zvezda, ready to take over the Progress’ final approach in the unlikely event its automated docking system encountered a problem. But the docking was flawless. Flight Engineer and NASA Science Officer Mike Fincke was nearby, collecting video and still imagery of the arrival of the new cargo craft.
The Progress is loaded with 1521 pounds of propellant, 110 pounds of oxygen and air to replenish the Station’s atmosphere, 926 pounds of water and more than 3000 pounds of spare parts, life support system components and experiment hardware.
Among the spare parts that arrived at the Station are new pumps for the U.S. spacesuits onboard that experienced cooling problems in early June while being prepared for a spacewalk to repair a failed power controller. The suits are undergoing troubleshooting in the hope they can be placed back into service in the near future.
Also on the Progress are clothing articles for the next residents that will occupy the Station. Expedition 10 Commander and NASA Science Officer Leroy Chiao and Flight Engineer Salizhan Sharipov are scheduled to launch Oct. 9 on the Soyuz TMA-5 vehicle from Baikonur to begin a six-month stay on the complex, replacing Padalka and Fincke.
Later today, Padalka and Fincke will open hatches between Zvezda and Progress and will begin to transfer its cargo to the orbital outpost.
Information on the crew's activities aboard the Space Station, future launch dates, as well as Station sighting opportunities from anywhere on the Earth, is available on the Internet at:
Details on Station science operations can be found on an Internet site administered by the Payload Operations Center at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., at:
The next ISS status report will be issued on Friday, August 20, or earlier, if events warrant.
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