Headlines > News > One Cargo Craft Undocks as Another Prepared for Launch

One Cargo Craft Undocks as Another Prepared for Launch

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Wed Aug 24, 2011 6:37 am via: NASA
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The Expedition 28 crew of the International Space Station monitored the departure of one Russian cargo craft Tuesday and prepared for the arrival of its replacement set to launch Wednesday.

The ISS Progress 43 cargo ship, loaded with trash and discarded items, undocked from the aft end of the Zvezda service module at 5:37 a.m. EDT as the station passed 230 statute miles over northern China. The Progress was commanded to a parking orbit a safe distance away from the station for engineering tests and experiments. It will be deorbited on Sept. 1 for a destructive re-entry over the Pacific ocean.

Progress 43’s departure clears the aft docking port of Zvezda for the arrival of the next Russian resupply vehicle, ISS Progress 44, which is set to launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 9 a.m. Wednesday (7 p.m. Baikonur time). When it docks Friday at 10:38 a.m., Progress 44 will deliver 2,050 pounds of propellant, 110 pounds of oxygen, 926 pounds of water and 2,777 pounds of spare parts and experiment hardware (for a total of 5,863 pounds or 2.9 tons) to the orbital complex.

To prepare for the arrival of Progress 44, Alexander Samokutyaev and Sergei Volkov, both flight engineers, conducted a training session Tuesday with TORU, the Russian telerobotically operated rendezvous system. The crew can use TORU to monitor the docking of a Progress spacecraft with the station or take control of the process if difficulties arise.

Meanwhile, Commander Andrey Borisenko and Flight Engineers Mike Fossum and Satoshi Furukawa continued to unload cargo from the ISS Progress 42 resupply ship that arrived at the station in late April.

Furukawa took a break from his work to receive a special VIP call from Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan. Furukawa also spoke with Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi and Yoshiaki Takaki, the Japanese minister of education, culture, sports, science and technology.

The Expedition 28 crew devoted part of the day to scientific research, participating in several studies of the effects of weightlessness on the human body. Furukawa performed a periodic health status evaluation on Flight Engineer Ron Garan. Later, with assistance from Fossum, Furukawa served as a subject for an ongoing investigation of the atrophy of the heart muscle that appears to develop during long-term spaceflight. Results from this investigation will help ensure crew health on future long-duration exploration missions and assist in the development of any needed countermeasures to mitigate the effects of spaceflight on the cardiovascular system.

Garan spent much of his day cleaning the ventilation system in the crew quarters as well as preparing for his return to Earth with Borisenko and Samokutyaev aboard the Soyuz TMA-21 spacecraft on Sept. 8.

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