HOUSTON — The crew of the International Space Station dispatched Russia’s Progress 40 on Jan. 23, clearing the Pirs docking port for the arrival of a replacement space freighter carrying more than 6,000 lb. of propellant and other supplies by month’s end.
Progress 40 departed the orbiting science lab at 7:40 p.m. EST, ending a near three-month stay (docking at Pirs took place on Oct. 30, 2010), according to the Russian Federal Space Agency. The spacecraft made a fiery descent into the Earth’s atmosphere, with some pieces plunging into the Pacific Ocean.
Meanwhile, Progress 41 is undergoing preparations for launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Jan. 27 at 8:31 p.m. EST, initiating a two-day transit to the station. The Russian capsule, carrying slightly more than 6,000 lb. of fuel, water, compressed air and other supplies, is scheduled for an automated docking with Pirs on Jan. 29 at 10:20 p.m. EST.
The Progress 41 launching will come on the heels of the arrival of Japan’s HTV-2, Kounotori, at the station. Kounotori was launched Jan. 22 from the Tanegashima Space Center, with 5.3 tons of equipment including research gear and external spare parts for the station’s U.S. segment. The Japanese cargo capsule is scheduled to rendezvous with the station on Jan. 27 (Aerospace DAILY, Jan. 25).