Russian Progress on his way to ISS

by Chris Bergin

A Russian re-supply ship, M-58, has successfully launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Monday, the 23rd launch of the Progress to the International Space Station (ISS).

The spacecraft – launched on top of a Soyuz-U – is carrying around 2.5 tons of consumables and equipment to the station, including vital spare parts for the faulty Elektron oxygen generator.

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Russian sources note that Progress is now safely in orbit, where he will remain for three days, before catching up with the ISS for a docking on October 26 at 10:28 am (EDT) on aft port of the Zvezda service module.

The spare parts for the Elektron will be installed under the guidance of RSC Energia in Russia. A successful installation and re-start of the machine would ease the pressure on the CSCS (Crew Shuttle Contingency Support) timeline – which is being constantly re-evaluated by NASA managers.

The CSCS needs to stay above the 60 days – or so – mark, so as to allow Shuttle Discovery launch on a NET (No Earlier Than) December 7 target, giving enough time for sister ship Atlantis to be launched on LON (Launch On Need) rescue mission, in the highly unlikely event that would be required.

The other Elektron on board the ISS – also broken – will be brought back down to Earth on board Discovery in December, NASA memos claim. That machine will they undergo refurbishment in Russia, to be returned to the ISS on a future mission.

Also on board the Progress will be food, water and fuel – as well as personal ites and clothing for Expedition 14 crew members, Commander Mike Lopez-Alegria, Tyurin and European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Reiter of Germany.

The next Progress launch will also play a part in aiding the oxygen situation, carrying a new Elektron BZh Liquid Unit. Progress M-59 will also carry 350 new SFOG cartridges, using NaClO4 (Sodium Perchlorate) instead of LiClO4 (Lithium Perchlorate) and thermal ignition, for 262 man-days.

January 18 is the current target for the launch of Progress M-59/24P.

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