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Space station receives latest Russian resupply ship
BY JUSTIN RAY
SPACEFLIGHT NOW

Posted: September 12, 2010


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A Russian cargo freighter flying on autopilot performed a successful rendezvous and docking with the space station this morning, delivering two-and-a-half tons of supplies for the international outpost in uneventful fashion.


File photo of Progress spacecraft at the station. Credit: NASA
 
The Progress M-07M spacecraft linked up to the aft docking port of the station's Zvezda service module at 7:58 a.m. EDT (1158 GMT) while soaring 216 miles over Mongolia.

"Docking confirmed," NASA commentator Rob Navias announced from Houston's Mission Control Center. "A textbook approach and rendezvous for the Progress 39 cargo craft."

There was no repeat of the communications problem that interfered with the previous resupply ship's rendezvous in July.

Hooks and latches were engaged a few minutes later to firmly secure the 24-foot-long craft to the station.

"Everything went by the book today. No problems encountered, no commanding issues encountered as was the case in July. It all went smooth as silk," Navias said.

The Expedition 24 crew of commander Alexander Skvortsov, Russian cosmonauts Mikhail Kornienko and Fyodor Yurchikhin, and NASA astronauts Tracy Caldwell Dyson, Doug Wheelock and Shannon Walker plan to open hatches and enter the Progress later today.

The cargo includes 2,645 pounds of equipment, food, clothing, life support system gear, 1,918 pounds of propellant to replenish reservoirs that feed the Russian maneuvering thrusters, 375 pounds of water and some 110 pounds of oxygen and air for the station's atmosphere.

The Progress was launched Friday atop a Soyuz rocket from Baikonur Cosmodrome, reaching a preliminary orbit of 148 by 121 miles. A series of precise engine firings over the past two days guided the freighter to the rendezvous.


File photo of Progress spacecraft at the station. Credit: NASA
 
After arriving in range of the space station, the vessel began a flyaround maneuver to get lined up with the docking port and then executed a roll maneuver to properly orient its forward docking probe with Zvezda.

A brief stationkeeping hold with about 550 feet between the freighter and station allowed Russian flight controllers to assess systems before giving approval to commence the 11-minute final approach.

The ship's automated docking system did its job and drove the craft to the linkup just before an orbital sunset.

"Everything is nominal," a one of the cosmonauts reported as the Progress closed in. "One meter... and we have contact."

"Copy, and we see contact and capture," a Russian flight controller replied. "Congratulations."

It is the 39th Progress to dock with the station over its decade-long life and the fourth of five now scheduled for this year.

See our earlier coverage of Progress 39P:

The craft joins an earlier resupply ship that arrived in May and remains affixed to the outpost, plus two Soyuz crew transport capsules currently residing at the space station.

Skvortsov, Kornienko and Caldwell Dyson will soon wrap up their half-year mission and return to Earth. Undocking is planned for September 23 at 9:34 p.m. and landing occurs a few hours later at 12:55 a.m. That signals the start of Expedition 25 with Wheelock as the new commander.

The next three-man team -- Scott Kelly, Alexander Kaleri and Oleg Skripochka -- will launch from Baikonur on October 7 at 7:10 p.m. and dock October 9 at 8:01 p.m. EDT.

The Progress 40P launch is targeted for October 27, just five days before space shuttle Discovery blasts off for its final voyage before retirement.

Spaceflight Now Plus
Additional coverage for subscribers:
VIDEO: WATCH CARGO FREIGHTER DOCK TO SPACE STATION PLAY
VIDEO: LAUNCH OF SOYUZ ROCKET WITH PROGRESS 39P PLAY

VIDEO: POST-SPACEWALK NO. 3 STATUS BRIEFING PLAY
VIDEO: SPACEWALKERS CONCLUDE THE THIRD EVA PLAY
VIDEO: AMMONIA HOSES ARE ATTACHED TO THE PUMP PLAY
VIDEO: POWER AND DATA LINES BRING PUMP TO LIFE PLAY
VIDEO: REPLACEMENT PUMP SECURELY BOLTED DOWN PLAY
VIDEO: PUMP INSERTED INTO SPACE STATION SLOT PLAY
VIDEO: SPACEWALKER HAULS PUMP OVER TO TRUSS PLAY
VIDEO: RETRIEVING THE REPLACEMENT PUMP PLAY
VIDEO: SPACEWALK NO. 3 BEGINS PLAY

VIDEO: POST-SPACEWALK NO. 2 STATUS BRIEFING PLAY
VIDEO: FAILED COOLANT PUMP REMOVED FROM THE STATION PLAY
VIDEO: ROBOT ARM MANEUVERS SPACEWALKER AROUND PLAY
VIDEO: POWER AND DATA LINES UNPLUGGED PLAY
VIDEO: TROUBLESOME UMBILICAL DETACHED PLAY
VIDEO: NO REPEAT OF AMMONIA LEAK PLAY

VIDEO: POST-SPACEWALK NO. 1 STATUS BRIEFING PLAY
VIDEO: PROBLEM CONNECTOR FINALLY FREED BUT THEN LEAKS PLAY
VIDEO: LEFT-HAND AMMONIA UMBILICAL COMES OFF WITH EASE PLAY
VIDEO: SKIPPING OVER PROBLEM CONNECTOR TO DO ANOTHER PLAY
VIDEO: TROUBLES AND ADVICE FOR STUCK AMMONIA LINE PLAY
VIDEO: PUMP'S SMALL COOLING LINE UNPLUGGED PLAY
VIDEO: SPACEWALKER DOUG WHEELOCK WORKS ON OLD PUMP PLAY
VIDEO: BRIEFING ON PUMP FAILURE AND SPACEWALKS PLAY

VIDEO: FULL BROADCAST OF SUPPLY SHIP'S DOCKING PLAY
VIDEO: WATCH CARGO FREIGHTER DOCK TO SPACE STATION PLAY
VIDEO: PROGRESS 38P FREIGHTER LAUNCHED PLAY

VIDEO: ORANGE COUNTY AND AL JAZEERA MEDIA INTERVIEWS PLAY

VIDEO: SOYUZ RELOCATED FROM ZVEZDA TO RASSVET PLAY

VIDEO: WELCOME CEREMONY FOR THE NEW RESIDENTS PLAY
VIDEO: POST-DOCKING NEWS BRIEFING IN RUSSIA PLAY
VIDEO: SOYUZ DOCKS TO THE SPACE STATION PLAY

VIDEO: FULL EXPERIENCE FROM LIFTOFF TO ORBIT PLAY
VIDEO: ENTIRE EXPEDITION 24 LAUNCH BROADCAST PLAY
VIDEO: CREW DEPARTS SITE 254 FOR LAUNCH PAD PLAY
VIDEO: VIPS MEET THE CREW ON LAUNCH MORNING PLAY
VIDEO: CREW MEMBERS DON THEIR SOKOL SPACESUITS PLAY
VIDEO: LAUNCH MORNING TRADITIONS AT CREW QUARTERS PLAY

VIDEO: SOYUZ ROCKET ROLLED TO THE LAUNCH PAD PLAY
VIDEO: POST-ROLLOUT COMMENTS FROM NASA OFFICIAL PLAY
VIDEO: ASSEMBLY OF SOYUZ COMPLETED IN THE HANGAR PLAY
VIDEO: HIGHLIGHTS OF CREW'S ACTIVITIES AT BAIKONUR PLAY
VIDEO: CREW'S DEPARTURE FROM STAR CITY TRAINING BASE PLAY
VIDEO: PRIME AND BACKUP CREWS MEET WITH REPORTERS PLAY
VIDEO: CEREMONIAL VISIT TO RED SQUARE IN MOSCOW PLAY
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