Nov. 26, 2004
International Space Station Status Report: SS04-041
Just like many Earth-bound travelers, the International Space Station crew is giving thanks this week and making travel plans for next week.
Expedition 10 Commander and NASA Station Science Officer Leroy Chiao and Flight Engineer Salizhan Sharipov will briefly vacate the Station on Monday. After configuring Station systems for autonomous operation, they will fly their Soyuz spacecraft from one parking spot to another on the orbiting laboratory.
To prepare for the Soyuz repositioning, Sharipov test-fired the Soyuz steering jets Wednesday. Today, the crew reviewed plans for the brief undocking and re-docking activities with ground controllers. They also closed the hatch between the Progress supply spacecraft and the Zvezda Service Module. Other hatches will be closed Sunday and early Monday prior to the Soyuz maneuver.
At 4:29 a.m. EST Monday, Sharipov, the Soyuz commander, and Chiao will undock the spacecraft from a port on the Station's Pirs Docking Compartment. They will back away approximately 98 feet and then move laterally about 45 feet to briefly hold position facing the nadir docking port on the Station's Zarya module. They will rotate the Soyuz to align with the docking port, and guide it in for re-docking at about 5 a.m. EST. Chiao and Sharipov will use Pirs as an airlock for spacewalks early next year.
A thruster test conducted on Wednesday showed all systems ready for the move. Russian flight controllers did see the same indication of a possible reduction in pressure or fuel flow from one Soyuz thruster as was noted during the craft's arrival at the Station in October. Station managers approved the 30-minute maneuver Wednesday, as the abnormal indication poses no problem for the safe operation of the Soyuz on Monday or in the future,
Russian managers decided today a further test of the same thruster originally planned during the repositioning Monday was unnecessary, since it would involve a thruster that will not be used during Monday's procedure.
Also this week, the crew began preparations for the undocking of the Progress cargo spacecraft attached to the Station. The crew reinstalled a docking mechanism on the resupply vehicle, which will be undocked and deorbited a few days before Christmas.
Russian managers elected not to conduct another reboost of the Station to make up for a slight shortfall in altitude resulting from last week's firing of the Progress engines. As a result, Russian space officials are expected to move the launch of the new Progress resupply craft one day, to December 23, with Station docking on Christmas. The change in launch time will compensate for the difference in the Station's altitude. A final decision on the adjustment to the Progress launch date is expected early next week.
The crew took the day off yesterday for the Thanksgiving Day holiday, enjoying packaged smoked turkey and potatoes. They also have off-duty time planned for the weekend before getting an early start Sunday evening to prepare for the Soyuz move.
Information about crew activities on the Space Station, future launch dates and Station sighting opportunities from Earth, is available on the Internet at:
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