ISS Progress 54 Resupply Spacecraft Docks With Station
The ISS Progress 54 resupply spacecraft, loaded with 2.8 tons of cargo, automatically docked to the International Space Station’s Pirs docking compartment at 5:22 p.m. EST Wednesday about six hours after its launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
At the time of docking, the station was soaring about 260 miles over the Atlantic Ocean east of Florida.
Progress 54 atop its Soyuz rocket launched from Baikonur at 11:23 a.m. (10:23 p.m. Baikonur time) to begin the expedited, 4-orbit trek to the station. Flight Engineer Rick Mastracchio reported to Mission Control in Houston that he and his crewmates had “a pretty good view” of the ascent of Progress up until its separation from the first stage of its Soyuz booster. Once the Progress reached its preliminary orbit about nine minutes after launch, it was less than 1,750 miles behind the complex.
The new Progress is loaded with 1,764 pounds of propellant, 110 pounds of oxygen, 926 pounds of water and 2,897 pounds of spare parts, experiment hardware and other supplies for the Expedition 38 crew. Thursday morning the crew will open the hatch to Progress to begin unloading the cargo. Progress 54 is slated to spend about two months docked to the complex before departing to make way for ISS Progress 55.
The ISS Progress 52 cargo craft, which undocked from Pirs on Monday, is in the midst of several days of tests to study the thermal effects of space on its attitude control system before it is ultimately de-orbited Feb. 11 for a fiery demise over the Pacific.
In addition to monitoring the arrival of Progress 54, the astronauts and cosmonauts of the Expedition 38 crew focused on a variety of science and maintenance tasks Wednesday.
Flight Engineer Mike Hopkins spent much of his day participating in the BP Reg experiment. This is a Canadian medical study that seeks to understand the causes of fainting and dizziness seen in some astronauts when they return to Earth following a long-duration mission. Results from this experiment will not only help researchers understand dizziness in astronauts, but it also will have direct benefits for people on Earth – particularly those predisposed to falls and resulting injuries, as seen in the elderly.
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