An unmanned Russian resupply ship smoothly linked up to the International Space Station this morning, delivering two and a half tons of food, water, fuel, spare parts and supplies to the two residents on board.
With Expedition 9 Commander Gennady Padalka and NASA Science Officer and Flight Engineer Mike Fincke looking on, the ISS Progress 14 docked to the aft port of the Zvezda Service Module at 8:55 a.m. CDT (1355 GMT) as the two craft flew 230 statute miles above Central Asia.
Padalka and Fincke were in Zvezda, prepared to take over manual control of the operation if it had been necessary, but the Progress craft automatically docked to the module through pre-programmed computer command with no problem.
The Progress was launched Tuesday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan and chased the Station for two days, using its engine to conduct rendezvous maneuvers in fine-tuning its course for today’s docking.
The Progress was the first ship to arrive at the ISS since Padalka and Fincke took over Station operations last month. The next Progress is scheduled to launch to the Station in late July.
After leak checks are completed to insure a tight seal between Progress and Zvezda, Padalka will open up the ship’s hatch later today so he and Fincke can begin unloading its cargo Friday.
Next week, Padalka and Fincke will turn their attention to preparations for a spacewalk no earlier than June 16, Moscow time, in Russian Orlan spacesuits out of the Pirs Docking Compartment to replace a power controller on the Station’s truss that failed April 21, resulting in the temporary loss of one of the four Control Moment Gyros (CMGs) that govern the orientation of the complex.
On Wednesday, Fincke and Padalka took turns maneuvering the Station’s Canadarm2 robotic arm to a position along the S0 Truss for camera views of the spacewalk worksite and downlink television of the spacewalk tasks as they are conducted during the planned 4-½ hour excursion. The two crewmembers will begin checking out their Orlan spacesuits next Thursday and are expected to climb into the suits June 11 in a dress rehearsal of the suit up and a thorough checkout of the suit systems that will clear the way for the spacewalk.
The spacewalk will be under the control of both U.S. and Russian mission personnel. Russian flight controllers will be directing Padalka and Fincke as they exit the Pirs and climb onto the telescoping Russian Strela cargo crane to be transported some 50 feet to the intersection of the U.S. and Russian segments of the Station. Once they dismount from the Strela, Padalka and Fincke will be under the direction of U.S. flight controllers as they move to the S0 Truss via handrails and tethers to swap out the failed Remote Power Control Module (RPCM) that rendered CMG 2 inoperable.
After power is restored to the CMG, the spacewalkers will make their way back to the Strela crane and, under the direction of Russian flight controllers once again, will swing back to the Pirs to reenter the Russian airlock and end the spacewalk.
Padalka and Fincke also conducted biomedical experiments and routine housekeeping tasks this week as they set their sights on the start of spacewalk preparations.
Information on the crew's activities aboard the Space Station, future launch dates, as well as Station sighting opportunities from anywhere on the Earth, is available on the Internet at:
Details on Station science operations can be found on an Internet site administered by the Payload Operations Center at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., at:
The next ISS status report will be issued on Friday, June 4, or earlier, if events warrant.
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