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On the launch pad
After traveling all morning and covering 4.2 miles of ground, shuttle Discovery arrives at its launch complex to begin the final preparations for blastoff. (3min 45sec file)
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Up the pad ramp
Space shuttle Discovery climbs the five percent incline ramp to the pad surface. The crawler's hydraulic lifts keep the shuttle level during the ramp ascent. (6min 52sec file)
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Almost there
After the long, time-consuming journey, Discovery nears launch pad 39B on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean. (4min 32sec file)
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Hot bearing
The early morning rollout experienced an overheating bearing in the crawler, forcing reduced speeds and some stops along the way. (6min 44sec file)
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As day breaks over Kennedy Space Center, Discovery makes its way down the crawlerway en route to the launch pad. (4min 11sec file)
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Discovery emerges
Shuttle Discovery emerges from the Vehicle Assembly Building in the overnight darkness for its 4.2-mile trip to pad 39B. (4min 39sec file)
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The move begins
Shuttle Discovery emerges from the Vehicle Assembly Building in the overnight darkness for its 4.2-mile trip to pad 39B. (3min 01sec file)
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Rollout preps
This collection of updates from NASA launch commentator George Diller documents the final preparations and minor problems that held up the start of Discovery's rollout from the Vehicle Assembly Building. (5min 01sec file)
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House hearing on ISS
The House Science Committee, Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics, begins its hearing on the International Space Station. (29min 59sec file)
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Phillips testifies
House members question Expedition 11 crew member John Phillips living on the International Space Station. (16min 33sec file)
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Past ISS astronauts
The hearing continues with questioning by House members of former station astronauts Peggy Whitson and Mike Fincke. (31min 33sec file)
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Station update
A status report on the Expedition 11 crew's mission aboard the International Space Station is given during this news conference Monday. (55min 54sec file)

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Shuttle collection
As excitement builds for the first space shuttle launch in over two years, this comprehensive video selection captures the major pre-flight events for Discovery and her seven astronauts.
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Tropical Storm Arlene
A camera on the International Space Station captured this view of Tropical Storm Arlene moving into the Gulf of Mexico as the orbiting complex flew above the weather system at 2:33 p.m. EDT on Friday, June 10. (3min 06sec file)
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Hurricane research
NASA's space-based research into how hurricanes form and move is explained in this narrated movie from the agency. (8min 02sec file)
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Volcano on Titan?
Dr. Bonnie Buratti, team member of the Cassini visual and infrared mapping spectrometer, discusses a possible volcano discovered on Saturn's moon Titan. (2min 12sec file)
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Shuttle oversight
The co-chairs and other members of the Stafford-Covey Return to Flight Task Group, which is overseeing NASA's space shuttle program, hold a news conference in Houston on June 8.

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International Space Station cargo ship blasts into orbit

Posted: June 16, 2005

The two-man crew living aboard the International Space Station can look forward to receiving fresh food, more oxygen and new equipment Saturday night when an unpiloted resupply ship docks to the orbiting complex.

The Russian-made Progress M-53 freighter was successfully launched into space at 2309 GMT (7:09 p.m. EDT) Thursday from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan.

The Soyuz rocket topped with the Progress M-53 spacecraft was launched from a pad at Baikonur Cosmodrome. Credit: Energia
A three-stage Soyuz-U booster propelled the 24-foot long ship on a two-day, pre-scripted course that culminates with an autonomous docking to the station's Zvezda service module's rear port around 0044 GMT (8:44 p.m. EDT) Saturday evening. An on-time docking would occur as the two craft soar 225 miles over Beijing, China.

The Progess spacecraft, known in the station's assembly matrix as mission 18P, reached its preliminary orbit about nine minutes after blastoff and separated from the Soyuz rocket's spent third stage. Onboard commands unfurled communications and navigation antennas and deployed two power-generating solar arrays that span 35 feet.

A series of precise engine firings over the next two days will guide the Progress into the station's orbit for the linkup. The Zvezda docking port was vacated Wednesday when the Progress 17P mission, filled with garbage and unneeded hardware, pulled away from the station and re-entered Earth's atmosphere.

The station-bound Progress carries 4,662 pounds of supplies, including 116 Russian items and 75 for NASA packed into the craft's cargo module. The "dry" cargo amounts to 3,097 pounds.

The Progress M-53 spacecraft is seen here during pre-launch preparations. Credit: Energia
The refueling module is loaded with 397 pounds of propellant for transfer into the Russian segment of the station to feed the outpost's maneuvering thrusters. The fuel is pumped from Progess via connections in the docking port.

Another hefty portion of the supply vessel's load is 926 pounds of water.

To replenish the station's oxygen supply, the Progress is bringing 242 pounds of pressurized oxygen and 40 additional solid-fuel oxygen generator cartridges. Ongoing breakdowns of the Russian Elektron oxygen-producing device on the station has forced the crew to burn two SFOG "candle" cartridges per day.

Spare parts to assist in Elektron repair efforts are aboard this Progress.

Expedition 11 commander Sergei Krikalev and NASA science officer John Phillips are two months into their planned half-year mission aboard the station.

The following timeline shows the key events scheduled from launch until docking for the Progress freighter:

Day 1 events - Thursday

Event Mission Time Eastern TimeGMT
LAUNCH 0/00:00:00 07:09:32 p.m. 2309:32
Orbit Insertion 0/00:08:45 07:18:17 p.m. 2318:17
Maneuver DV1
(18.28 m/s)
0/03:34:59 10:44:31 p.m. 0244:31 Fri.
Maneuver DV2
(9.59 m/s)
0/04:10:26 11:07:01 p.m. 0307:01 Fri.

Day 2 events - Friday

Event Mission Time Eastern TimeGMT
Maneuver DV3
(2.00 m/s)
1/01:13:05 08:22:37 p.m. 0022:37 Sat.

Day 3 events - Saturday

Event Mission Time Eastern TimeGMT
Start Automated
1/23:17:23 06:26:55 p.m. 2226:55
Station maneuver
to docking attitude
1/23:29:28 06:39:00 p.m. 2239:00
DV4 / Impulse 1
(19.898 m/s)
1/23:39:29 06:49:01 p.m. 2249:01
Progress Kurs-A
1/23:55:28 07:05:00 p.m. 2305:00
Zvezda Kurs-P
1/23:57:28 07:07:00 p.m. 2307:00
Impulse 2
(1.168 m/s)
2/00:02:30 07:12:02 p.m. 2312:02
DV5 / Impulse 3
(22.859 m/s)
2/00:23:27 07:32:59 p.m. 2332:59
TORU command
link activation
Range 9 km
2/00:55:23 08:04:55 p.m. 0004:55 Sun.
Progress TV
Range 8 km
2/00:56:43 08:06:15 p.m. 0006:15 Sun.
Impulse 4
(7.127 m/s)
2/01:05:14 08:14:46 p.m. 0014:46 Sun.
Ballistic Targeting
2/01:07:14 08:16:55 p.m. 0016:55 Sun.
Impulse 5
(4.653 m/s)
2/01:11:27 08:20:59 p.m. 0020:59 Sun.
Impulse 6
(2.248 m/s)
2/01:13:22 08:22:54 p.m. 0022:54 Sun.
Start flyaround
2/01:15:27 08:24:59 p.m. 0024:59 Sun.
Orbital sunrise 2/01:16:42 08:26:14 p.m. 0026:14 Sun.
In range of Russian
ground stations
2/01:18:06 08:27:38 p.m. 0027:38 Sun.
Start stationkeeping 2/01:24:27 08:33:59 p.m. 0033:59 Sun.
Start final approach 2/01:25:28 08:35:00 p.m. 0035:00 Sun.
DOCKING 2/01:34:28 08:44:00 p.m. 0044:00 Sun.

Data source: NASA.