MOSCOW, August 19 (Itar-Tass) —— The Russian crewmembers aboard the ISS begin to prepare the Progress cargo craft for the undocking from the station and the sinking in the ocean. Another cargo craft will replace the Progress next week.
ISS Crew 28 flight engineers Alexander Samokutyayev and Sergei Volkov this Friday assemble the docking mechanism of the Progress M-11M craft, which will be undocked from the station at the command from the earth on August 23, a source at the Mission Control Centre based near Moscow told Itar-Tass.
Before closing the hatches, cosmonauts usually take all oxygen from the freight craft for the station and place removed equipment and waste from the station in the craft. Volkov this Friday is expected to fill the Zvezda module with oxygen from the tanks of the Progress, complete the loading of removed equipment and report to the MCC that the craft is ready for the undocking, the source said.
Loading of waste is a long and uneasy process that takes a lot of working time. All the garbage is packed in special containers and placed according to a certain scheme aboard a Progress so as not to disturb the alignment of the craft, the source explained. Freight craft used as garbage carrying vehicles usually have capacity for over 1.5 tonnes of waste.
This time, after the undocking from the station, the craft will not be sunk in the Pacific the same day, but will fly independently for some time. The loaded Progress will be placed in a safe distance from the ISS, and it will function as a scientific laboratory for nine days. Another session of the Padar-Progress experiment will be conducted with its use. Then, Progress M-11M will be sunk in the Pacific at the so-called “spacecraft cemetery”.
The next cargo craft will replace it on the Zvezda module next week. The Progress M-12M launch from Baikonur is planned for August 24. The space vehicle will deliver about 2.5 tonnes of various cargoes to the orbital station.