The International Space Station (ISS) and Zvezda service module continue their orbital ballet with all systems on both spacecraft in excellent shape leading toward a planned docking at 8:53 p.m. Eastern Time, July 25.
Since the last report, Zvezda's secondary computer system was tested to verify its ability to receive commands from the ground and to notify the Mission Control Center here in Korolev that it received those commands. The Regul system has two identical 'sets' and both now have proven to be in excellent shape.
Yesterday aboard the ISS, the Zarya control module performed two small correction burns lasting five seconds each, which raised the station's orbit by about two miles (3.3 km). Each was about two miles per hour, or one meter per second. The engine firings were part of a two-orbit simulation of all events leading to the actual docking. The first occurred at 10:59 p.m. EDT Monday and the second was at 12:25 a.m. EDT Tuesday. The simulation of docking night activities included testing the automatic docking system called Kurs. Though full data analysis from the test still is ongoing, Russian flight controllers reported that both the prime and secondary systems operated as expected.
The next scheduled rendezvous maneuver is by Zvezda and is scheduled for 10:24 tonight EDT. This will be the first correction burn performed by the module after the two major altitude adjust burns that occurred five days ago. Russian 'ballistics' engineers are continuing to refine the planned duration and velocity change, but it is presently designed to be about 15 seconds in duration with a change in velocity of about 10 miles per hour, or 4.5 meters per second.
Today, while Zvezda and the ISS are out of communications range, Russian and American flight controllers will conduct a simulation for the docking of the next vehicle with the station - the first Progress M1 supply spacecraft. Engineers presently are at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, loading the Progress with supplies and equipment destined for use by the first resident crew of the ISS scheduled to arrive in the fall. The Progress will be launched on a Soyuz rocket. It presently is scheduled to be launched about Aug. 6 with docking two days later. The Progress will be unloaded by the crew of the next space shuttle to visit scheduled for mid September.
Tomorrow, controllers will review telemetry data on the battery current in each of the five onboard powerplants. Each produces electricity for use by equipment onboard. This energy is obtained by the twin solar arrays, which gather the Sun's energy and transfers it to the batteries.
On Friday, a docking test will be performed that includes conducting a mechanical capture test of Zvezda's docking mechanism. This test will verify the operation of the software and mechanical systems associated with docking.
As of Noon EDT Monday, Zvezda had completed 120 orbits of the Earth since its launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome on July 12. The next Mission Control Center status report will be issued Friday, July 21. For more information, call the Johnson Space Center Newsroom at 281/483-5111.
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