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Russian Cargo Craft Launches to Station

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Sat Apr 21, 2012 8:11 pm via: NASA
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The unpiloted ISS Progress 47 cargo craft launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 8:50 a.m. EDT Friday, beginning a two-day journey to the International Space Station. Less than ten minutes later, the Progress reached its preliminary orbit and deployed its solar arrays and navigational antennas.

The Russian cargo craft is scheduled to automatically dock to the Pirs docking compartment Sunday at 10:40 a.m. It is loaded with 2.5 tons of food, fuel and supplies for the six crew members aboard the orbiting laboratory. Docking coverage begins at 10 a.m. on NASA TV.

It will replace the trash-filled ISS Progress 46 cargo craft which undocked from the station’s Pirs docking compartment Thursday. Russian flight controllers will command the Progress 46 for several days of tests, then send it to burn up in the Earth’s atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean.

Once the station crew members have unloaded all the cargo, Progress 47 will be filled with trash and station discards, then undocked for a destructive re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere in late July.

Aboard the station Friday, Expedition 30 Commander Dan Burbank and Flight Engineers Anton Shkaplerov and Anatoly Ivanishin conducted a three-hour training session aboard the Soyuz TMA-22 spacecraft that brought them to the station back in November. During their training session, they simulated the procedures they will run through when they undock from the orbiting laboratory and return to Earth on April 27.

Flight Engineers Don Pettit and Andre Kuipers worked with flight controllers to review robotics and grapple procedures in preparation for the arrival of the first commercial cargo craft to visit the station. The SpaceX Dragon capsule is targeted for launch on April 30 and will perform a series of demonstration maneuvers before it is grappled by the station’s Canadarm2 and berthed to the Harmony node. After 18 days of docked operations, Pettit and Kuipers will use Canadarm2 to detach and release Dragon for its splashdown in the Pacific Ocean 250 miles off the U.S. west coast.

Flight Engineer Oleg Kononenko worked with the Identification experiment, which examines the station’s dynamic loads during events such as dockings and reboosts.

Shkaplerov and Ivanishin drew blood samples for the Immuno experiment. The European Space Agency study observes a crew member’s stress and immune responses during spaceflight. Results may help in the development of pharmacological countermeasures to side effects on the immune system.

Over the weekend, the station residents will continue preparations for Sunday’s docking of the ISS Progress 47 cargo craft and carry on with regular maintenance duties and ongoing scientific research. They also will perform their daily physical exercise routines, enjoy some off-duty time and have an opportunity to speak with family members.

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