Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Progress Launches to Space Station


A new Progress cargo resupply vehicle launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to the International Space Station at 9:14 p.m. EDT Wednesday, Oct. 14. Less than nine minutes later, the ISS Progress 35 reached its preliminary orbit and deployed its solar arrays and navigational antennas.

It replaces the trash-filled Progress 34 which undocked on Sept. 21 and was destroyed on re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere over the Pacific on Sept. 27.

Progress 35 is set to dock to the station on Saturday, Oct. 17 at 9:41 p.m. with more than two tons of oxygen, air, propellant and other supplies and equipment aboard.

The station's 35th Progress unpiloted spacecraft brings to the orbiting laboratory 1,918 pounds of propellant, 110 pounds of oxygen and air, 926 pounds of water and 1,750 pounds of spare parts and supplies for the Expedition 21 crew.

Once the Expedition 21 crew members have unloaded the cargo, Progress 35 will be filled with trash and station discards. It will be undocked from the station and like its predecessors deorbited to burn in the Earth's atmosphere.

The Progress is similar in appearance and some design elements to the Soyuz spacecraft, which brings crew members to the station, serves as a lifeboat while they are there and returns them to Earth. The aft module, the instrumentation and propulsion module, is nearly identical.

But the second of the three Progress sections is a refueling module, and the third, uppermost as the Progress sits on the launch pad, is a cargo module. On the Soyuz, the descent module, where the crew is seated on launch and which returns them to Earth, is the middle module and the third is called the orbital module.


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