The Progress 28 cargo ship undocked from the International Space Station at 4:50 a.m. EDT Monday and headed into its deorbit and destructive re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean.
The Progress, which has been attached to the station since February, had been loaded with trash and discards before its departure. The Pirs docking compartment is now open for the arrival Thursday of the Soyuz TMA-12 spacecraft carrying the Expedition 17 crew and a South Korean spaceflight participant.
The Expedition 17 crew continued to make last-minute preparations before Tuesday’s launch to the station. Commander Sergei Volkov, Flight Engineer Oleg Kononenko and spaceflight participant So-yeon Yi are scheduled to launch at 7:16 a.m. EDT Tuesday aboard a Soyuz rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
Aboard the station, the Expedition 16 crew members unloaded cargo from the Jules Verne Automated Transfer Vehicle, which arrived last week. In addition to performing regular exercise and maintenance duties, Expedition 16 Commander Peggy Whitson and Flight Engineer Yuri Malenchenko reviewed descent procedures for their return to Earth.
Whitson, Malenchenko and spaceflight participant So-yeon Yi are scheduled to leave the station April 19th in Soyuz TMA-11 spacecraft. Flight Engineer Garrett Reisman, now an Expedition 16 crew member, will join Expedition 17.
Explore further: Image: Astronaut Paolo Nespoli in BEAM