Spaceflight Now Home

Spaceflight Now +

Premium video content for our Spaceflight Now Plus subscribers.

Supply ship docking
The 18th Progress resupply ship launched to the International Space Station is guided to docking with the Zvezda service module's aft port via manual control from commander Sergei Krikalev. A problem thwarted plans for an automated linkup.

 Play video:
   Short | Extended version

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.
 See selection

House hearing on ISS
The House Science Committee, Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics, begins its hearing on the International Space Station. (29min 59sec file)
 Play video

Phillips testifies
House members question Expedition 11 crew member John Phillips living on the International Space Station. (16min 33sec file)
 Play video

Past ISS astronauts
The hearing continues with questioning by House members of former station astronauts Peggy Whitson and Mike Fincke. (31min 33sec file)
 Play video

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)

 Play video:
   Dial-up | Broadband

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)
 Play video

Become a subscriber
More video

Station commander remotely docks supply ship
Posted: June 18, 2005

Space station commander Sergei Krikalev took over manual control of an approaching Russian supply ship this evening and remotely guided the robotic craft to a picture-perfect docking after problems prevented an automatic linkup.

The unmanned Progress supply craft, launched Thursday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, was poised for final approach when a problem on the ground prevented Russian flight controllers from sending commands to initiate the procedure.

Krikalev, one of the most experienced space fliers in the world, promptly took over manual control using a backup system known as TORU and guided the craft to a linkup at the aft end of the Zvezda command module at 8:42 p.m. EDT (0042 GMT).

"I would like to congratulate you on the successful docking," a Russian flight controller radioed the station. "I am proud of you."

"I tried to do my best. Thank you very much," Krikalev replied. "I think it was very helpful to have all the TORU training. Say thank you to my TORU instructor."

"Yes, he is here, he is getting ready for receiving a medal for this wonderful job."

The Progress is loaded with 4,662 pounds of supplies and equipment, including 397 pounds of propellant, 242 pounds of oxygen, 926 pounds of fresh water and 3,097 pounds of dry cargo. The cargo includes 40 new solid-fuel oxygen generators, or SFOGs, which can be ignited to provide additional oxygen through a chemical reaction.

The station normally relies on a Russian Elektron oxygen generator, which uses solar electricity to break down water into hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen is dumped overboard.

But the Elektron's main liquid unit failed recently and the crew has been burning SFOGs to provide oxygen. With the arrival of the Progress, Krikalev and flight engineer John Phillips now have a total of 82 SFOGs, enough to supply their needs for 41 days.

But oxygen from tanks aboard the Progress will be used in the near term and all together, the crew now has enough air to last until January without any additional supplies.

Last week, Krikalev removed the failed liquid unit (no. 5) from the Elektron and replaced it with a spare unit (no. 7) that experienced its own problems earlier. He transferred electrolytes from unit No. 5 to unit No. 7 and plans to install new filters carried up on the Progress. He hopes to make an attempt to re-activate the Elektron late next week.

The next Progress, scheduled for launch in late August, will carry a new liquid unit that should restore the Elektron to normal operation if it is still out of action. In the meantime, Krikalev and Phillips plan to burn two more SFOGs this weekend and to tap into the Progress oxygen supply Monday.

Spaceflight Now Plus
Additional coverage for subscribers: