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Progress Docks to Space Station
02.13.09
ISS Progress 32

The ISS Progress 32 cargo craft approaches the International Space Station for docking. Credit: NASA TV

ISS Progress 32

The ISS Progress 32 cargo craft (center) docked to the International Space Station. Credit: NASA TV

A new Progress cargo carrier docked to the Pirs Docking Compartment of the International Space Station at 2:18 a.m. EST Friday with more than 2.4 tons of oxygen, air, propellant and other supplies and equipment aboard.

The station's 32nd Progress unpiloted spacecraft brings to the orbiting laboratory more than 1,910 pounds of propellant, more than 100 pounds of oxygen and air, and more than 2,860 pounds of dry cargo. Total cargo weight is 4,894 pounds.

The ISS Progress 32 launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Tuesday at 12:49 a.m. It replaces the trash-filled Progress 31 which was undocked from Pirs on Feb. 5 and destroyed on re-entry.

Once Expedition 18 crew members have unloaded the cargo, Progress 32 will be filled with trash and station discards. It will be undocked from the station and like its predecessors deorbited to burn in the Earth's atmosphere.

The Progress is similar in appearance and some design elements to the Soyuz spacecraft, which brings crew members to the station, serves as a lifeboat while they are there and returns them to Earth. The aft module, the instrumentation and propulsion module, is nearly identical.

But the second of the three Progress sections is a refueling module, and the third, uppermost as the Progress sits on the launch pad, is a cargo module. On the Soyuz, the descent module, where the crew is seated on launch and which returns them to Earth, is the middle module and the third is called the orbital module.