A new Progress cargo carrier docked to the International Space Station’s Pirs docking compartment early Wednesday, bringing almost 2.5 tons of fuel, air, water and other supplies to the station and its three-member crew. One of the first items unpacked were fresh tomatoes and lettuce, to be used for an anticipated culinary treat of “space hamburgers” for the crew.
This is the ISS’s 27th unpiloted Progress spacecraft to bring supplies to the station. The Progress launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Dec. 23 at 2:21 am EST, and docked with the ISS on Dec. 26 at 3:14 am EST. About three hours later, the crew began unloading the supplies, which includes more than 1,900 pounds of propellant, over 100 pounds of oxygen and 2,921 pounds of dry cargo. Part of the dry cargo are Christmas presents for Expedition 16 commander Peggy Whitson and flight engineer Dan Tani, as well as birthday gifts for Russian flight engineer Yuri Malenchenko, who turned 46 on Saturday.
In an earlier press conference Whitson mentioned she was especially looking forward to receiving the â€œfixingsâ€? for hamburgers, especially since the crew wouldn’t be able to enjoy the Christmas meal that space shuttle Atlantis was supposed to bring on its flight, originally scheduled for early December. The shuttle will now launch no earlier than January 10 due to problems with engine cutoff sensors in the shuttle’s external fuel tank. Whitson said she had created space hamburgers during her previous stay on the station, Expedition 5, and wanted to reproduce the meal for her current crew.
The previous Progress ship was undocked from the station last Friday, after it was filled with trash and unneeded equipment from the station. It will be deorbited for destruction on re-entry in mid-January after conducting Earth observation experiments.
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Original News Source: NASA Press Release