New Role Seen for Station's Next Progress
A new Progress launched toward the International Space Station June 24. It will have the distinction, at least for a while after its unloading, of serving as a closet rather than a garbage can for the orbiting laboratory.
All in all, the 22nd Progress to visit the station will have just over 2½ tons of equipment and supplies on board. Included in its 5,090 pounds of cargo will be more than 1,900 pounds of propellant, just over 100 pounds of air and oxygen, almost 250 pounds of water and almost 2,860 pounds of dry cargo.
Its sister cargo carrier and a predecessor at the station, ISS Progress 20, was undocked from the station June 19. It was deorbited and destroyed with its load of trash and station discards on re-entry.
ISS Progress 21, which arrived at the station April 23, remains at the aft docking port of the Zvezda service module. It is scheduled to be undocked and deorbited on Sept. 13.
Progress 22 launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 11:08 a.m. EDT Saturday. Docking to the Pirs docking compartment is scheduled for June 26 at 12:27 p.m. NASA Television will cover the docking live, beginning at 11:30 a.m.
Plans call for Progress 22 to be used after it is unloaded as a "closet." It will provide additional stowage space, rather than act as a trash receptacle. Many items eventually to be stowed aboard will be delivered by Discovery on STS-121, scheduled to launch on July 1. Progress 22 unloading will begin only after departure of Discovery.
The Progress is similar in appearance and some design elements to the Soyuz spacecraft, which brings crewmembers 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.