Headlines > News > Russian Cargo Ship Blasts Off Towards Station

Russian Cargo Ship Blasts Off Towards Station

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Fri Jan 28, 2011 6:15 am via: NASA
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The ISS Progress 41 cargo craft launched at 8:31 p.m. EST Thursday (7:31 a.m. Baikonur time Friday) from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan. The Russian resupply craft will dock to the station’s Pirs docking compartment Saturday at 9:39 p.m. The Progress is carrying 1,918 pounds of propellant, 110 pounds of oxygen, 926 pounds of water and 3,080 pounds of spare parts and supplies to the station.

Nine minutes after launch, the Progress separated from the third stage of its Soyuz rocket, placing the unpiloted cargo craft into its preliminary orbit. Seconds later, its solar arrays and navigational antennas deployed on time.

Japan’s second H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV2) nicknamed Kounotori2, or “White Stork,” arrived Thursday morning at the International Space Station. After rendezvous operations were complete, Kounotori2 reached a point about 15 feet from Canadarm2. Ground controllers then sent an order that turned off all the vehicle’s engines — called “free drift.”

Flight Engineers Paolo Nespoli and Catherine Coleman began grapple operations with the robotics workstation system from inside the cupola attached to the Tranquility module. The astronauts operated Canadarm2, the station’s robotic arm, to grapple the free-floating HTV2 and berth it to the Harmony module. Kounotori2 was successfully grappled at 6:41 a.m. and attached to Harmony’s Earth-facing port at 9:51 a.m.

The crew opened the hatch to the HTV2 at 3:47 p.m. Thursday as the International Space Station orbited 220 miles west of Chile. In the coming days, a pallet loaded with spare station parts will be extracted from a slot in the cargo ship and attached to an experiment platform outside the Japanese Kibo module. Other cargo will be transferred internally to the station.

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