The stage is set for another docking to the International Space Station (ISS) Tuesday - this time by a Russian Progress supply vehicle that launched Sunday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The Progress is delivering clothing, computers, personal hygiene items, office supplies, food and fuel for the first permanent residents of the Station, the Expedition One crew, which is scheduled to arrive on board in early November.
Following a series of rendezvous maneuvers, the Progress is scheduled to dock at 3:14 p.m. Central time (12:14 a.m. Moscow time August 9) at the aft end of the newly arrived Zvezda Service Module to wait unpacking by Atlantis’ crew during the STS-106 mission early next month.
Atlantis was transported early this morning from its processing hangar at the Kennedy Space Center to the Vehicle Assembly Building to be mated to its fuel tank and solid rocket boosters. The Shuttle will be hauled to its launch pad late Sunday night, arriving at dawn next Monday for final processing for launch on September 8.
The Progress M1 cargo ship was launched atop a Soyuz rocket at 1:26:42 p.m. CDT Sunday afternoon and reached a safe orbit nine minutes later. A short time later, all communications antennae and solar arrays had been deployed. Two rendezvous burns later Sunday placed the Progress in a 298 by 270 kilometer orbit. The ISS orbit is 363 by 351 kilometers.
Another rendezvous burn was successfully conducted today at 2:23 p.m. CDT, with two more planned tomorrow, all designed to place the Progress in close proximity to the Station for Tuesday’s automatic docking. All of the Progress’ systems are functioning normally.
The ISS systems are also in excellent shape as the recently expanded Station awaits the arrival of its newest component. With the Progress attached, the ISS will measure 143 feet in length and will weigh 67 tons, almost twice as large as it was in May the last time a Shuttle crew conducted assembly work.
Progress docking coverage will be broadcast live on NASA Television beginning at 3 p.m. CDT tomorrow. A black and white camera on the Progress should provide views of the ISS during final approach and docking.
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The next Mission Control Center status report will be issued on Tuesday, August 8 following the Progress docking. For more information, call the Johnson Space Center Newsroom at 281/483-5111.
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