Cargo ship arrives at the International Space Station
BY SPACEFLIGHT NOW
Posted: May 12, 2009
The International Space Station has received a new load of supplies from the latest Russian-built cargo freighter, which successfully docked to the outpost at 3:24 p.m. EDT today.
The Progress M-02M ship attached itself to the Earth-facing port on the Pirs docking module in orbital darkness while flying 218 miles above the border between Mongolia and China. It's the 33rd such spacecraft sent to the station over the past decade.
The space station is occupied by the Expedition 19 crew of commander commander Gennady Padalka and flight engineers Michael Barratt and Koichi Wakata.
"Everything is stable. The vehicle is moving steadily and stably, like a very important person," Padalka told the ground as the Progress neared the linkup.
Padalka was standing by to manually dock the Progress if the automated system experienced a problem. However, all went according to plan.
"Congratulations from the ground, guys," Mission Control radioed.
"We were just observers for this operation," Padalka replied.
The "dry" cargo tucked aboard the Progress amounts to 3,384 pounds in the form of spare parts, life support gear and equipment hardware.
The refueling module carries 1,918 pounds of propellant for transfer into the Russian segment of the complex to feed the station's maneuvering thrusters. And the vessel has 110 pounds of oxygen and air.
The vessel was launched last Thursday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. It took a longer-than-usual trek to catch up with the station, spending a few extra days in free-flight to test new avionics, according to NASA.