Astronauts Prepare for New Supply Ship

Astronauts on board the International Space Station have had a busy week preparing for their next Progress cargo ship. On Monday they detached Progress 20 from the station, which will now burn up through the Earth’s atmosphere. If all goes well, Progress 22 will blast off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome on June 24, and link up with the station on June 26. It’ll be carrying 2.5 tonnes of equipment and supplies.

The International Space Station crew this week bid farewell to one cargo craft and prepared for the arrival of another. The crew also continued to prepare for the arrival of the Space Shuttle Discovery, which is set for launch July 1.

On Monday, Pavel Vinogradov and Jeff Williams watched as the ISS Progress 20 cargo vehicle automatically backed away from the station’s Pirs docking port, making room for the next one’s arrival. The new Progress is scheduled to launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome at 11:08 a.m. EDT June 24 and dock to the station at about 12:30 p.m. EDT June 26. It will bring about 2.5 tons of equipment and supplies to the orbiting outpost.

Vinogradov took a refresher course on the Toru manual docking system Monday. Vinogradov would use the system to guide the cargo craft in the event its primary automated docking system did not function properly.

Throughout the week the station crew also prepared for Discovery’s anticipated arrival. On Tuesday, Vinogradov and Williams reviewed the timeline of activities for the shuttle mission and held a conference with mission experts on the ground. On Friday, the crew continued to prepare U.S. spacesuits that will be used during the shuttle visit.

They also continued to pack equipment that will be returned to Earth on Discovery. On Wednesday, Williams installed the centerline berthing camera system in a window of the station’s Unity connecting module. The camera view will assist with the attachment of a pressurized logistics module named Leonardo, which will be carried aboard Discovery to that module’s port. The Leonardo module will be attached to Unity for unloading and reloading during the mission. It will be loaded in Discovery’s cargo bay for the trip home.

Also on Wednesday, Vinogradov worked with the Russian experiment that studies self-propagating combustion materials. The investigation looks at mechanisms for forming high-porosity, heat-resistant, thermal insulating materials for spacecraft.

Williams spent more than three hours Thursday on station robotic arm activities, first training with a simulation program on a laptop computer and then exercising the arm itself. Supported by flight controllers on the ground, he moved the Canadarm2 in much the same way he will during Discovery’s visit. He left it parked in position for Discovery’s arrival.

While Williams worked with the robotic arm, flight controllers noted elevated spin motor command currents and vibrations on one of the station’s four control moment gyroscopes, “CMG 3.” The indications returned to normal several hours later, and the gyroscope has continued to perform normally.

The next station status report will be issued on Saturday, June 24 following the ISS Progress 22’s launch. For more about the crew’s activities and station sighting opportunities, visit:

Original Source: NASA News Release