February 3, 2010

Progress 36 Launches To Space Station

The ISS Progress 36 spacecraft launched at 10:45 p.m. EST (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., Progress will dock automatically to the aft port of the Zvezda service module of the International Space Station using the Kurs docking system.

Aboard the station Tuesday, Flight Engineers Maxim Suraev and Oleg Kotov checked out TORU, the Russian telerobotically operated rendezvous system, which the crew 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.

Suraev and Kotov also had time for science, conducting a session with a Russian biomedical experiment designed to test the response of cosmonauts to the effects of stress factors in flight and photographing the latest results of a study of plant growth in a weightless environment.

Working in the Quest airlock, Commander Jeff Williams and Flight Engineers Soichi Noguchi and T.J. Creamer teamed up to resize spacesuits for the three spacewalks planned when space shuttle Endeavour and the STS-130 crew arrive to install the Italian-built Tranquility node and the seven-windowed Cupola. 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, Feb. 9.

Later, Creamer reviewed reference materials on a study of the decrease in the heart muscle size during long-duration spaceflight as he prepares to conduct an echocardiogram Thursday on Williams, the latest participant in the study.

Noguchi spent some time updating the station's computer network by replacing an old laptop computer with a newer model. Noguchi also took some time to talk with Nippon TV in Tokyo, answering questions about life in space and giving viewers a quick look around the Kibo module.

The station's residents also had several opportunities for Earth observation and photography as they orbited the world every 90 minutes. Among the sites suggested for photography were several capital cities, including Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan, Vientiane in Laos and N'Djamena in Chad.


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