The arrival of the Russian re-supply ship Progress M-58 at the International Space Station (ISS) suffered a problem during docking on Thursday.
However, firm dock has now been confirmed, after a full three and a half hours of troubleshooting by flight controllers in both Moscow and Houston.
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The Progress is carrying 2.5 tons of supplies, including 870 kg of propellants, 50 kg of gaseous oxygen, and 1263 kg of dry cargo, including food, crew provisions, CHeCS and maintenance gear (221 total items: 144 Russian, 75 NASA, 2 ESA).
Also on the Progress are vital spare parts for the broken Elektron, which is required to aid the long-term oxygen supply status on the Station, especially in relation to the amount of CSCS (Crew Shuttle Contingency Support) days available, should a ‘safe haven’ contingency be required for upcoming STS-116.
Controllers were forced to evaluate photography to confirm whether or not the 4AO-BKA orientation antenna has stowed, which the Progress failed to confirm. Stowing the antenna is required to allow the completion of docking.
The ISS was placed into ‘free drift’ – which did not help the communication links which are required to check the before and after photography, which in turn will help evaluate if the antenna is actually stowed.
However, troubleshooting has been successful, with latches now being used to attach the Progress into the fully docked position. Clamps can be used if there are any remaining issues with the final elements of securing the spacecraft.
During the final stages of latching the Progress into a firm dock, crewmember Mikhail Tyurin reported sounds coming from the outside of the ISS.
‘Not loud but audible. Not a humming noise, sounds like it’s on the roof,’ he said. ‘I can hear as if someone is pulling something up on the surface of the roof. Maybe the antenna that did not fold.’
However, that proved to be only a thruster firing and the ISS is now returning to US attitude control. Evaluations will continue on the antenna issue, although it appears the antenna did retract as normal.
According to Thursday’s On Orbit Status Report:
With the station in free drift during the anomaly and solar arrays not optimally positioned, MCC-Houston immediately initiated “load shedding” measures (power conservation by turning off non-essential electrical loads).
Also, during the extended free drift period and consequent antenna pointing offsets, communications with the ground were affected, reducing comm to an estimated 75 percent of attitude-controlled norm. The probe was fully retracted by 2:00pm, i.e. after a delay of 3h 30m.]
After the delay, hooks and latches were finally closed, and the crew is now conducting the standard one-hour leak checking of the docking vestibule and fuel/oxidizer transfer line interface between Progress and SM. During leak checking and initial clamp installation, RS thrusters will again be inhibited.
Mikhail (Misha) Tyurin shut off the TORU and reconfigured STTS communications, and Michael (LA) Lopez-Alegria took down the TV Ku-band connection through the USOS via the FGB A31p, which was also shut down.
When hatches are opened tomorrow morning, Misha and LA will first install the QD (quick disconnect) screw clamps (BZV) of the docking & internal transfer mechanism (SSVP) to rigidize the coupling.
Next, they will perform the standard air sampling inside the Progress with the Russian AK-1M air sampler, then deactivate the cargo ship and install the ventilation air duct. [Unpacking and transfers of delivered cargo will be guided by uplinked Russian and U.S. Unpack Lists.
First priority will be on food rations: 23P delivered 38 Russian food containers (35 with main food rations, 3 with supplemental “bonus” food for Misha), and 22 U.S. food containers (14 for LA & Misha, 1 main plus 3 “bonus” for Thomas, and 4 “bonus” for LA.)]
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