Saturday, May 01, 2010

Russian Resupply Craft Docks with Space Station

Progress 37 moves in for Docking to Station Today. (NASA)

A Russian cargo craft filled to the top with supplies was docked successfully today by the commander of the International Space Station after an automatic system failed on it's approach.

As the Progress M-05M spacecraft begin it's rendezvous sequence, the Kurs automated rendezvous system failed at a range of 3,280 feet from it's docking port.

The system failure forced the station's commander Oleg Kotov to take over and manually bring the 24-foot craft in the rest of the way.

According to the Johnson Space Center's Mission Control, "The Kurs shut down and defaulted to the TORU system after the craft failed to recognize its attitude orientation through its sensors following one of its thruster firings to fine-tune its path to the station".

Progress was docked at 2:30 pm EDT (18:30 GMT) to the Piers docking port as the two spacecraft orbited 220 miles over the Kazakh border of southern Russia.

On board Progress are 2.6 tonnes of supplies for the current Expedition 23 crew and for the upcoming 24 crew.

The international crew of six includes
Kotov and flight engineers T.J. Creamer, Soichi Noguchi, Mikhail Kornienko, Tracy Caldwell Dyson and Alexander Skvortsov.

A few of the supplies carried inside the cargo craft is 117 pounds of equipment for the Mini Research Module 2; a
water supply system which is 161 pounds; food and food containers equal 717 pounds; and medical equipment plus personal hygien weighed in at 342 pounds, according to the Russian Space Agency.

The unmanned spacecraft was launch on Wednesday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in western Kazakhstan.

The craft's arrival increases the number of Russian spacecraft docked to the station to four -- two Soyuz TMA's and two Progress.

The older, trash filled Progress 36 is scheduled to undock from earth's orbital outpost on May 10.

Six days later, the space shuttle Atlantis will move in and dock to begin eight days of work, including three spacewalks.

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