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Hurricane Ike Delays Progress Docking

September 11, 2008

Hurricane Ike has delayed the scheduled Friday arrival of a Russian Progress cargo ship at the International Space Station 220 miles above Earth.

The Progress docking was postponed when the space station’s control room at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston was closed Thursday because of the approaching storm.

Control of the space station was handed to flight controllers at backup facilities near Austin, Texas, and Huntsville, Ala. Because the Mission Control Center in Houston is responsible for commanding many of the station’s systems, U.S. and Russian officials agreed to delay the docking.

Russian flight controllers will execute a maneuver to place the Progress spacecraft into a safe orbit away from the station until docking, which is planned for Wednesday, Sept. 17. If Johnson’s control center is not restored to full capability for docking, one of the backup facilities may be used to command the station’s systems.

Station Commander Sergei Volkov and Flight Engineers Oleg Kononenko and Greg Chamitoff are awaiting the arrival of the cargo ship. The spacecraft is carrying more than 2 tons of supplies, including food and fuel.

NASA Television may offer coverage of the Progress’ arrival.

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