Progress Docks to Space Station
A new Progress cargo carrier docked to the International Space Station's Pirs docking compartment at 9:30 a.m. EST Thursday with more than 2.5 tons of fuel, air, water, propellant and other supplies and equipment aboard.
Image to right: Progress 28 approaches the International Space Station. Image credit: NASA TV
The station's 28th Progress unpiloted spacecraft brings to the orbiting laboratory more than 1,165 pounds of propellant, more than 100 pounds of oxygen and air, about 925 pounds of water and 2,925 pounds of dry cargo. Total cargo weight is 5,129 pounds.
P28 launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Tuesday, Feb. 5, at 8:03 a.m. EST. It replaces the trash-filled P27 which was undocked from Pirs on Monday. P27 will be deorbited Feb. 15 and destroyed on re-entry.
P28 used the automated Kurs system to dock to the station. Expedition 16 Flight Engineer Yuri Malenchenko was at the manual TORU docking system controls, should his intervention have become necessary.
Once Expedition 16 crew members, Malenchenko, Commander Peggy Whitson and Flight Engineer Dan Tani, have unloaded the cargo, P28 will be filled with trash and station discards. It will be undocked from the station and like its predecessor deorbited to burn in the Earth's atmosphere.
The Progress is similar in appearance and some design elements to the Soyuz spacecraft, which brings crew members 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.