The Russian Progress M-59/24P re-supply ship – which launched successfully from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan in the early hours of Thursday, has docked with the International Space Station (ISS).
The Progress – which launched on top of a Soyuz-U launch vehicle – is carrying several tons of fuel, food and cargo, and docked without issue at 9:59pm EDT.
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The launch vehicle also had a very special passenger during ascent, with a portrait dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the birth of rocket designer and Russian hero Sergey Pavlovich Korolyov, painted on to the side of the payload faring.
On board the Progress is 3,300 lbs of cargo, including food and equipment, 1,7000lbs of station reboosting propellant and 100lbs of oxygen. Progress is a vital support line for the ISS, even through the US Space Shuttle program has finally returned to regular launch operations.
To make way for the upcoming arrival, Progress M-57/22P undocked Wednesday night on schedule (6:29pm EDT) when the latches were unhooked and a 1-mm separation was completed.
The separation burn occurred at 6:32pm, and the vehicle completed the deorbit burn to re-enter the earthâ€™s atmosphere at 9:31pm. With the completion of the undocking activities, the DC1 was freed for Progress M-59/24P, and the ISS maneuvered (under Russian Segment motion control) to +XVV TEA (+X-axis into the Velocity Vector/Torque Equilibrium Attitude).
After orbit insertion, Progress unfolded two solar arrays, four Kurs antennas, one TORU/Rassvet-M antenna and one telemetry antenna. Later, the docking probe (SSh) was extended, followed by a 6-min long self-test of both subsets of the Kurs-A MCS (motion control system) including the Klest TV system.
Two orbit adjustment burns of 5 min duration each were executed, DV1 at ~1:10am EST and DV2 at ~1:40am, both with the SKD main engine. After the two-day ‘chaser’ flight, 24P docked at the DC1 port of the ISS.
It’s already been a busy time for new ISS expedition member Suni Williams, as she helped participate in the OGS (Oxygen Generation System) installation, which was a long, highly complicated procedure that took the better part of four days at the start of the year.
The OGS is one of the three Regenerative ELCSS system racks slated to be installed in Node 3, and critical to support six-person ISS crew operations.
In tandem with the readying of the ISS for an increased crew compliment, the European re-supply ship, the ATV (Automated Transfer Vehicle) Jules Verne will make its debut launch on top of an Ariane 5 on July 25.
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