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Russian Cargo Craft Launches to Space Station
04.24.13
 
The ISS Progress 51 cargo craft launches from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan

The ISS Progress 51 cargo craft launches from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Credit: NASA TV

The unpiloted ISS Progress 51 cargo craft launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 6:12 a.m. EDT Wednesday on a traditional two-day trip to the International Space Station.

› Watch a video of the Progress launch

The Progress made it safely to orbit and deployed its solar arrays as planned. One of the antennas for the KURS automated rendezvous system did not deploy. Russian ground controllers are assessing their options to deploy the antenna, which is used to measure orientation of the Progress vehicle.

Unlike its three most recent predecessors, Progress 51 is relegated to the typical two-day rendezvous because of the phasing and orbital mechanics associated with this launch date.

The Russian cargo craft is scheduled to dock with the station’s Zvezda service module Friday at 8:26 a.m. It 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.

Meanwhile, the six Expedition 35 crew members living aboard the station worked with robotics, science experiments and conducted an emergency training drill on Wednesday.

iss035e017865 -- Robonaut 2

Robonaut 2, the first humanoid robot to travel to space and the first U.S.-built robot to visit the space station, performs a few finger motion and sensor checkouts aboard the Earth-orbiting International Space Station. Credit: NASA

Flight Engineer Tom Marshburn assembled and powered up Robonaut 2, the first humanoid robot in space, to prepare it for a series of tests scheduled for Thursday. The robotics tests involve Marshburn putting on telerobotics gear, including a special helmet and gloves that will allow him to command the robot by having it copy his movements. This capability will allow the astronauts to make real-time decisions and control Robonaut’s actions from inside the station. Robonaut was designed with the intention of eventually taking over tasks deemed too dangerous or mundane for astronauts, perhaps even venturing outside the complex.

› Read more about Robonaut

Flight Engineer Chris Cassidy worked with BCAT experiment, which observes microscopic particles suspended in liquids, or colloids, to learn how to develop smarter, more advanced materials on Earth.

› Read more about Binary Colloidal Alloy Test

Cassidy also worked in the Kibo module on the SAIBO rack’s clean bench, performing a checkout of its systems.

Commander Chris Hadfield changed out a lens in EarthKAM, a NASA education program that enables thousands of students to photograph and examine Earth from a space crew's perspective.

› Read more about EarthKAM

Flight Engineers Pavel Vinogradov and Roman Romanenko stowed tools and equipment used during their 6-hour, 38-minute spacewalk on April 19. They also disassembled the docking mechanism from the ISS Progress 50 cargo craft mated to the Pirs docking compartment in preparation for the arrival of the ISS Progress 51cargo craft.

› Read more about the spacewalk

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.

All six station crew members participated in an emergency simulation exercise and a debriefing with flight control teams in Houston and Korolev, Russia to review the emergency procedures.

› Read more about Expedition 35