Russian Cargo Craft Launches
The ISS Progress 43 spacecraft, loaded with three tons of fuel, air and supplies for the Expedition 28 crew aboard the International Space Station launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at at 10:38 a.m. EDT Tuesday. The unpiloted Russian vehicle will dock automatically to the aft port of the station’s Zvezda service module Thursday via the Kurs automated rendezvous system.
The European Space Agency cargo ship that previously occupied Zvezda’s aft port until 10:46 a.m. Monday, the “Johannes Kepler” Automated Transfer Vehicle 2, was commanded to deorbit to its fiery demise Tuesday afternoon.
To prepare for the arrival of Progress 43, Flight Engineers Alexander Samokutyaev and Sergei Volkov conducted a training session Tuesday with TORU, the Russian telerobotically operated rendezvous system. The crew can use TORU to monitor the docking of a Progress spacecraft with the station or take control of the process if difficulties arise.
Meanwhile Commander Andrey Borisenko conducted some routine maintenance on the Elektron oxygen generating system in the Russian segment of the station.
Ron Garan and Mike Fossum, both flight engineers, spent much of their day preparing for the spacewalk they will conduct when the STS-135 crew aboard space shuttle Atlantis visits the station during the final mission of the shuttle program. That launch is currently planned for July 8.
Fossum also teamed up with Flight Engineer Satoshi Furukawa to practice photography techniques they will use to photograph Atlantis’ thermal protection system as it performs a back flip known as a Rendezvous Pitch Maneuver prior to docking.
Fossum, Volkov and Furukawa, who arrived at the station June 9 aboard the Soyuz TMA-02M spacecraft, also have an hour set aside daily during their first two weeks aboard the station to become accustomed to living and working within its 13,696 cubic feet of habitable volume.