A Russian cargo ship exploded on Wednesday, amid serious research by the NASA-sponsored crew of the institute and four visiting “civilian astronauts” on their own scientific agenda. , delivered 2.7 tons of supplies and equipment to the International Space Station.
The Progress cargo ship took off from a Soyuz 2a.1 booster at Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 8:56 a.m. EDT, less than 48 hours after the launch of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket. Boost private placement Crew Dragon The capsule will be launched into orbit from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Chartered by Houston-based Axiom Space, the flight will bring former astronaut Peggy Whitson, fiber optic entrepreneur John Schoffner, and two Saudi astronauts, Ali Alkarni and Rayana Barnawi. Brought to the station for eight days of study and public service to school children in the Midwest. east.
The company’s second NASA-sanctioned private astronaut mission, the Ax-2 flight, increased the space station crew from seven to eleven. The situation is more crowded than usual, but NASA astronaut Stephen Bowen told The Associated Press that the crew is coordinating.
“We’ve been able to integrate them into the crew pretty well, and they’re very busy… doing a lot of the work they bring in,” he said in an interview Wednesday. “It’s crowded at times. There are some aisle issues, but it worked out. I actually really enjoy the company.”
As he spoke, Progress continued its automatic double-orbit rendezvous and caught up with the space station. Meanwhile, station commander cosmonaut Sergey Prokopiev was monitoring the approach from within the station’s Russian sector.
He was ready to take over manual control if necessary and remotely control Progress to fly towards docking, but the rover flew perfectly, facing the laboratory space at 12:19pm. Guided by precision docking to the Poisk module.
Progress carried 2.7 tons of supplies and equipment, including 1,080 pounds of propellant, 88 pounds of nitrogen, 926 pounds of water, and 3,399 pounds of dry cargo.
After the Ax-2 crew departed next Tuesday and returned to Earth, SpaceX is planning its own cargo launch on June 3, similar to the one used last Sunday by a private astronaut crew. We plan to launch an unpiloted Dragon capsule from the same pad.
In addition to the usual crew supplies, scientific equipment and instruments, the Dragon capsule will carry two more deployable solar array blankets that are part of an ongoing power system upgrade. These will be installed by Bowen and astronaut Woody Horberg during spacewalks on June 9 and 15.
On June 26, the SpaceX Cargo Dragon, loaded with research samples and obsolete equipment, will undock from the same Harmony Module space-facing port used by the Ax-2 crew and return to Earth. It’s a schedule.
In early July, Bowen and his Crew 6 colleagues will be strapped to Crew Dragon, undocked, and moving the capsule from Harmony’s forward port to the port Cargo Dragon has just vacated. This will pave the way for Boeing’s Starliner crew capsule to dock at Harmony’s forward port after it launches on its first pilot flight on July 21.
Starliner astronauts Barry “Butch” Willmore and Sunita Williams are working with SpaceX until NASA certifies the ferry as safe to use to transport astronauts to and from the lab. plans to test ferries.
Crew 6 captain Bowen, Hoburg, UAE cosmonaut Sultan Arneyadi and cosmonaut Andrey Fejayev undocked on August 27, nine days after the Crew 7 replacement arrived. It will return to Earth and complete its 178-day mission.
Prokopyev, astronaut Dmitri Petelin, and NASA astronaut Frank Rubio later joined on Sept. 27, 12 days after the two replacement astronauts and one NASA astronaut arrived on the station. He plans to return to Japan on the Soyuz MS-23 spacecraft.
Prokopiev, Peterin and Rubio launched into the lab last September and were originally scheduled to return to Earth in March. But a coolant leak forced Russia to launch a replacement ferry, delaying the return by six months.
At touchdown, it will have spent 371 days in orbit, setting a new American single-flight space endurance record.
“On a personal level, it was pretty tough,” Rubio said of the unexpected extension of his mission. “I missed his family and knew I was going to miss a pretty big milestone, especially for my (four) kids.”
This includes birthdays, anniversaries, a son graduating from high school, and a daughter finishing her freshman year in college.
“We’ve been trying very hard to keep in touch with each other,” Rubio told The Associated Press. “I have tried to discipline myself to stay involved in their lives as much as possible. They gave me.”