From: Johnson Space Center
Posted: Wednesday, December 21, 2005
A shipment of supplies and holiday presents is on its way to the International Space Station following the launch of the ISS Progress 20 cargo ship today from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
The new resupply ship lifted off at 12:38 p.m. CST (12:38 a.m. Baikonur time Thursday). Temperatures were in the mid-20s with no wind as the Progress soared aloft through clear skies. Less than 10 minutes later, the cargo ship reached orbit, and its solar arrays and navigational antennas were deployed for its two-day trip to the orbital outpost.
Two pre-programmed firings of the Progress' main engine are scheduled later today to fine-tune the ship's path to the space station. Additional rendezvous maneuvers are planned Thursday and Friday.
At the time of the Progress launch, Expedition 12 Commander Bill McArthur and Flight Engineer Valery Tokarev were flying 220 statute miles over the south Pacific west of Chile in their 82nd day in space and their 80th day on the complex. They were informed of the launch by flight controllers as the Progress reached orbit.
Carrying 2.8 tons of food, water, fuel, oxygen, air, spare parts and other supplies, the new Progress is scheduled to automatically dock to the station's Pirs Docking Compartment on Friday at 1:54 p.m. CST. The new Progress is also carrying holiday gifts for the crew from their families. The older ISS Progress 19 supply ship that arrived at the Zvezda Service Module's aft port in September will remain there until early March to be used to stow trash and to enable its supply of oxygen to be used to replenish the cabin atmosphere.
Live coverage of the docking of Progress 20 to the ISS begins on Friday at 1 p.m. CST on NASA Television.
Meanwhile, engineers are studying data to learn what may have caused last Friday's severing of a cable that provides power, command and data and video connections to the Mobile Transporter railcar. Two redundant cable reels support the Mobile Transporter and Mobile Base System, a movable platform that allows the station's robotic arm to move back and forth along the truss in support of construction and maintenance work The Trailing Umbilical System (TUS) 2 cable appears to have been cut by the disconnect actuator system that is designed to sever the cable if it ever becomes snarled or tangled. Video downlinked from station cameras confirmed that the cable had been cut. The TUS 1 system was not affected.
The inadvertent severing of the cable tripped one of two redundant circuit breakers on the S0 Truss, which provides power to the Mobile Transporter. The transporter is not scheduled to be used in the near future, but the severed TUS 2 cable can be replaced through a spacewalk to provide the redundancy the transporter requires.
For more on the crew's activities aboard the station and opportunities to see the station fly overhead from anywhere on the Earth, visit:
The next station status report will be issued on Friday, Dec. 23, after the Progress 20 docking, or earlier, if events warrant.
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