Gift-Bearing Progress Launches Toward Space Station

Dec 21, 2005
An unpiloted Progress supply vehicle approaches the International Space Station. Credit: NASA

The 20th unpiloted Progress cargo craft launched toward the International Space Station Wednesday at 1:38 p.m. EST, carrying Christmas gifts, equipment and supplies to the orbiting laboratory. It is scheduled to dock at the Pirs Docking Compartment Friday at 2:54 p.m.

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

The Progress reached orbit about 10 minutes after launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Its solar arrays and antennas were deployed normally.

With the Soyuz that brought the Expedition 12 crew to the station and will take them home, P20 will bring 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 stay at the station so its remaining oxygen 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.

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.

In addition to Christmas presents, 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: Greenland darkening to continue, predicts CCNY expert Marco Tedesco

Related Stories

Europe destroys last space truck to ISS

Feb 15, 2015

The European Space Agency (ESA) on Sunday said it had destroyed its last supply ship to the International Space Station, bringing a seven-year venture to a successful close.

The worst trip around the world

Dec 22, 2014

As you celebrate the end of the year in the warmth of your home, spare a thought for the organisms riding with a third-class ticket on the International Space Station – bolted to the outside with no protection ...

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.

Recommended for you

The riddle of galactic thin–thick disk solved

13 hours ago

A long-standing puzzle regarding the nature of disk galaxies has finally been solved by a team of astronomers led by Ivan Minchev from the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam (AIP), using state-of-the-art ...

Giant cosmic tsunami wakes up comatose galaxies

15 hours ago

Galaxies are often found in clusters, with many 'red and dead' neighbours that stopped forming stars in the distant past. Now an international team of astronomers, led by Andra Stroe of Leiden Observatory ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.