Progress to Sub for Santa at Space Station

Dec 15, 2005
An unpiloted Progress supply vehicle approaches the International Space Station. Credit: NASA

A new Progress will bring Christmas gifts to the International Space Station, but there will be no Santa coming down a chimney. The unpiloted cargo carrier will use the Pirs Docking Compartment.

Image: An unpiloted Progress supply vehicle approaches the International Space Station. Credit: NASA

It will be the 20th Progress to visit the International Space Station, and will double the number of unpiloted cargo carriers at the orbiting outpost. With the Soyuz TMA that brought the Expedition 12 crew to the station and will take them home, P20 brings to three the number of Russian vehicles at the station.

Its sister and predecessor at the station, Progress 19, will remain docked to the aft port of the Zvezda Service Module. Generally a Progress is undocked and deorbited shortly before the launch of the next Progress, to clear that docking port for the new arrival.

In this case, mission managers have decided that Progress 19 will remain at the station so its remaining oxygen and propellant can be transferred. That also will give station crewmembers, Commander Bill McArthur and Cosmonaut Valery Tokarev, a chance to fill it completely with garbage and unneeded equipment. It will re-enter and burn in the Earth's atmosphere shortly after its undocking, scheduled for early March.

P20 is to launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan Dec. 21 at 1:38 p.m. EST. Docking to Pirs is scheduled for Dec. 23 at 2:55 p.m.

The P20 cargo weighs about 5,680 pounds. It comprises 1,940 pounds of propellant, 183 pounds of oxygen and air, 463 pounds of water and almost 3,100 pounds of dry cargo.

The dry cargo consists of equipment and supplies, experiment hardware, spare parts for the station, repair gear and life support system hardware.

The Progress is similar in appearance and some design elements to the Soyuz spacecraft, which brings three crewmembers 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.

Source: NASA

Explore further: France raises heat on decision for next Ariane rocket

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

China to launch second space lab in 2016, official says

Sep 10, 2014

China will launch its second orbiting space laboratory in two years' time, a top official said Wednesday, the latest step in an ambitious space programme Beijing says will one day land a Chinese man on the ...

ACEs are high with space station colloidal research

Aug 25, 2014

One global marketer took to space to find a way to be leaner and greener back on Earth. For Procter & Gamble (P&G), product innovation and improvement relied on use of the International Space Station (ISS) ...

Exploring Mars in low Earth orbit

Jul 31, 2014

In their quest to understand life's potential beyond Earth, astrobiologists study how organisms might survive in numerous environments, from the surface of Mars to the ice-covered oceans of Jupiter's moon, ...

New launch date set for ISS delivery vessel

Jul 22, 2014

A robot ship will be launched from Kourou, French Guiana, after a five-day delay on July 29 to deliver provisions to the International Space Station, space transport firm Arianespace said Tuesday.

ISS 'space truck' launch postponed: Arianespace

Jul 18, 2014

The July 24 launch of a robot ship to deliver provisions to the International Space Station has been postponed "for a few days", space transport firm Arianespace said Friday.

Last European space truck set for July 24 launch

Jun 26, 2014

The last of five robot resupply ships Europe was scheduled to provide for the International Space Station will be taken aloft on July 24, launch firm Arianespace said on Thursday.

Recommended for you

Miranda: An icy moon deformed by tidal heating

3 hours ago

Miranda, a small, icy moon of Uranus, is one of the most visually striking and enigmatic bodies in the solar system. Despite its relatively small size, Miranda appears to have experienced an episode of intense ...

The latest observations of interstellar particles

9 hours ago

With all the news about Voyager 1 leaving the heliosphere and entering interstellar space you might think that the probe is the first spacecraft to detect interstellar particles. That isn't entirely true, ...

User comments : 0