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Russian Cargo Craft Docks

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Wed Oct 31, 2012 11:40 pm via: NASA
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A special Halloween visitor has arrived at the back door of the International Space Station with treats for the Expedition 33 crew.

The ISS Progress 49 cargo craft docked with the aft end of the station’s Zvezda service module at 9:33 a.m. EDT Wednesday following its successful launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 3:41 a.m. Progress 49 is delivering 2.9 tons of supplies to the orbiting complex, including 2,050 pounds of propellant, 62 pounds of oxygen, 42 pounds of air, 926 pounds of water and 2,738 pounds of spare parts, experiment hardware and maintenance equipment.

The abbreviated launch-to-rendezvous schedule, first used with the launch of ISS Progress 48 on Aug. 1, is designed to reduce the typical two-day flight between launch and docking. Russian space officials are evaluating this new approach for future Soyuz crew member flights beginning in 2013.

Expedition 33 Flight Engineers Oleg Novitskiy and Yuri Malenchenko monitored key events during Progress 49’s rendezvous and docking. The Progress is designed to dock automatically via the Kurs automated rendezvous system, but the crew can use TORU, the Russian telerobotically operated rendezvous system, to take over the process if difficulties arise.

Mission Control continues to track a piece of space junk that may require a debris avoidance maneuver by the station. The debris, a piece of a communications satellite named Iridium 33, is a small object with movements that are difficult to predict. To be prudent, Mission Control is preparing for a possible adjustment to the station’s orbit if tracking indicates that the debris could become a threat to the station. If it becomes necessary, the maneuver would be performed using the Progress 48 thrusters at 7:08 p.m., with the time of closest approach about 9:20 p.m. If the maneuver is required, it will have no effect on Thursday’s spacewalk schedule.

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