Progress Set For Launch Wednesday, Science Experiments for Station Crew
Final preparations are under way for the launch of the ISS Progress 51 cargo craft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Wednesday. It is set to launch at 6:12 a.m. EDT on a traditional two-day trip to the International Space Station. Unlike its three predecessors, this Progress cargo craft is relegated to the typical two-day rendezvous because of the phasing and orbital mechanics associated with this launch date.
The cargo craft is loaded with 1,764 pounds of propellant, 48 pounds of oxygen, 57 pounds of air, 926 pounds of water and 3,483 pounds of spare parts, experiment hardware and other supplies for the station crew.
NASA TV launch coverage will begin at 6 a.m. Wednesday. Docking to the aft port of the Zvezda service module is scheduled for Friday at 8:26 a.m. with NASA TV coverage beginning at 7:45 a.m.
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Meanwhile, the six Expedition 35 crew members living aboard the station were busy with a variety of scientific research Tuesday as they continued the ongoing maintenance of the systems aboard the orbiting laboratory.
Flight Engineer Chris Cassidy worked with an experiment known as Burning And Suppression of Solids, or BASS, which studies how a variety of solid materials burn and extinguish in microgravity. Results from BASS may lead to improvements in spacecraft materials selection, strategies for extinguishing accidental fires aboard spacecraft and improved computational models used in the design of fire detection and suppression systems here on Earth.
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Commander Chris Hadfield spent most of his day on the removal and replacement of a water valve in the cooling system of the Columbus module and was later joined by Flight Engineer Tom Marshburn for a clean-up of the work area.
Marshburn also had some time scheduled to work with the Capillary Flow Experiment, which investigates how fluids flow across surfaces in a weightless environment. Results from this experiment will improve computer models used to design fluid transfer systems and fuel tanks on future spacecraft.
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Flight Engineers Pavel Vinogradov and Roman Romanenko conducted some training with the Russian telerobotically operated rendezvous system, or TORU, in the Zvezda service module to prepare for Friday’s arrival of the ISS Progress 51 cargo craft. The Progress is designed to dock automatically via the Kurs automated rendezvous system, but the crew can use TORU to take over the process if difficulties arise.
Flight Engineer Alexander Misurkin focused on a variety of maintenance tasks in the Russian segment of the station, tagging up with specialists at the Russian Mission Control Center in Korolev as needed.
› Read more about Expedition 35