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Progress Cargo Vehicle Launched; Docking With ISS Delayed

By | October 30, 2006

      A Russian Progress cargo vehicle launched successfully from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, but then was delayed in docking with the International Space Station (ISS) by a balky antenna, NASA and Starsem reported.

      It was the 1,715th launch of a Soyuz family vehicle, the company reported.

      The Progress vehicle carried almost 2.5 tons of food, water, fuel, oxygen, air, spare parts and other supplies for the ISS and its crew, NASA stated.

      The unmanned Progress 23 finally began docking with the ISS at 10:29 a.m. ET Thursday, but then faced a delay.

      Concerned that a Kurs antenna on the Progress 23 was not retracted for docking and could interfere with final latching, flight controllers delayed fully latching the supply ship for about three hours.

      Russian flight controllers determined the antenna was not a problem and the Progress 23 was latched at 2 p.m. ET.

      Because of the long day, the Expedition 14 crew waited until the next day before opening the supply ship.

      The Progress 23 automatically docked to the aft end of the Zvezda service module. Flight Engineer Mikhail Tyurin was prepared to dock the cargo carrier manually in the unlikely event it would have been necessary.

      Progress had that Zvezda ISS port opened to it, ready for docking, thanks to crew members first having gone out for a cosmic cruise, driving around the ISS.

      Expedition 14 Commander Michael Lopez-Alegria and Flight Engineers Tyurin and Thomas Reiter cleared Zvezda’s docking port Oct. 10 when they undocked their Soyuz spacecraft, then redocked to the Zarya module’s Earth-facing port.

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