New Cargo Craft Docks after Just Four Orbits
The Russian Progress 48 docked to the Pirs docking compartment at 9:18 p.m. EDT Wednesday after just four orbits. The cargo craft launched earlier in the day from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, at 3:35 p.m.
› Video: Spacecraft docks less than six hours after launch
› Video: Flight Director Dina Contella discusses Progress launch
The Progress 48 delivered 1,962 pounds of propellant, 110 pounds of oxygen and air, 925 pounds of water and 2,817 pounds of supplies, spare parts and experiment hardware.
The six Expedition 32 crew members shifted their sleep schedule to accommodate the arrival of the Progress 48. Commander Gennady Padalka and Flight Engineers Sergei Revin and Yuri Malenchenko carefully monitored the Russian cargo ship’s approach and docking. Flight Engineers Suni Williams, Joe Acaba and Aki Hoshide photographed and videotaped the Progress 48’s arrival.
The normal launch-to-docking mission profile for a Russian cargo craft is two days or 34 orbits. Russian flight controllers had the option of choosing to return to a two-day rendezvous if necessary. The exercise was designed to test a shortened transit plan to the station for possible use on future Soyuz missions to the complex.
The new resupply craft replaces the Progress 47 which undocked late Monday afternoon. The trash-filled Progress 47 is orbiting the Earth for several weeks of engineering tests before re-entering the Earth’s atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean.
The International Space Station is hosting three different cargo ships. Japan’s H-II Transfer Vehicle-3 arrived Friday evening and is berthed to the Harmony Node. Europe’s Automated Transfer Vehicle-3, also known as the “Edoardo Amaldi”, docked to the Zvezda service module on March 28.