Thursday, February 04, 2010

ISS Progress 36 Launches, Crew Prepares for Docking

The ISS Progress 36 (P36) unpiloted spacecraft launched at 10:45 p.m. EST Tuesday (9:45 a.m. Wednesday, Baikonur time), loaded with 1,940 pounds of propellant, 106 pounds of oxygen and air, 926 pounds of water and 2,683 pounds of spare parts and supplies.

On Thursday shortly before 11:30 p.m., P36 will dock automatically to the aft port of the Zvezda service module of the International Space Station using the Kurs docking system.

As the Progress made its way to the orbiting complex Wednesday, Expedition 22 Flight Engineers Maxim Suraev and Oleg Kotov conducted a conference call with Russian ground teams as they prepared for Thursday’s docking. The cosmonauts will monitor the approach of P36 while at the TORU, the Russian telerobotically operated rendezvous system, which they can use to monitor the Progress docking or take control of the process in the unlikely event that difficulties arise with the automated Kurs system.

Meanwhile, Commander Jeff Williams gathered tools to be used for the installation and outfitting of the Italian-built Tranquility node and the seven-windowed Cupola to be delivered by space shuttle Endeavour and the STS-130 crew. Endeavour is slated to launch Sunday at 4:39 a.m. from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida and dock with the station early Tuesday.

Williams also conducted a periodic inspection of the Waste and Hygiene Compartment in the U.S. Destiny Laboratory as he flushed the water tank for air bubbles, took photographs then returned the tank back to service.

In addition, the crew had time scheduled for Earth observation and photography. Among Wednesday’s selected sites for observation was the Haiti disaster area.