Oct. 26, 2006

Katherine Trinidad
Headquarters, Washington

James Hartsfield
Johnson Space Center, Houston


New supplies arrived at the International Space Station Thursday as an
unpiloted Russian cargo spacecraft docked to the aft port of the
Zvezda Service Module.

With almost 2.5 tons of food, fuel and supplies for the station’s
Expedition 14 crew, the ISS Progress 23 automatically docked to
Zvezda at 10:29 a.m. EDT as the spacecraft and the station flew 220
miles above Italy. The 23rd Progress to visit the station was
launched Monday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Following the initial docking, the final latching of the Progress
craft to the station was delayed by about three and a half hours as
Russian flight controllers evaluated potential interference by an
antenna on the spacecraft. At the time of docking, flight controllers
could not confirm that the antenna used by the Progress’ Kurs
automated docking system had retracted as commanded. If the antenna
had remained extended, it could have interfered with the final
latching of the supply ship to the station.

After reviewing data, Mission Control Moscow commanded the Progress’
docking probe to slowly retract, pulling the ship firmly into the
port and aligning the hooks and latches that hold it secure. Latches
for the craft on the station were secured at about 2 p.m. EDT. Flight
controllers will command additional latches on the Progress to close
Friday. This allows the operation to be completed in a normal manner
over Russian communications sites.

During the hours between initial docking and final latching, the
station’s orientation was allowed to drift to avoid any disturbance
of the softly docked cargo ship. The station’s drift resulted in
lower power generation by the solar arrays. The crew then powered off
several pieces of non-critical equipment as outlined in a standard
procedure that reduces power consumption. Soon after the latches were
closed, however, the station’s attitude control was restored and
power generation was returned to normal.

Due to the long operations Thursday, Expedition 14 Commander Mike
Lopez-Alegria and flight engineers Mikhail Tyurin and Thomas Reiter
will open the hatch to the supply ship on Friday. Supplies on the
Progress include food, fuel, oxygen and air, clothing, experiment
hardware and spare parts, as well as personal items from the crew’s
families. The new Progress joins an older Progress supply ship that
arrived at the station’s Pirs Docking Compartment in June. Progress
22 will remain docked until mid-January. It will be used to stow
trash, and its supply of oxygen will help replenish the station’s
atmosphere when required.

ISS Progress 23 holds 1,918 pounds of propellant for the Russian
thrusters, 110 pounds of oxygen and almost 2,800 pounds of spare
parts, experiment hardware and life support components, including
parts for the Russian Elektron oxygen-generation system. The system
has been inoperable since last month, and Tyurin is expected to
resume repairs on the unit next week.

Engineers continue to review data from the station’s S-band
communications system, which experienced dropouts late last week in
the transmission link of one of two redundant channels used for voice
and commanding capability. After collecting data last weekend from
“string 1” of the S-band system, its transmitter was reactivated
Wednesday, but the communications problem occurred once again.

“String 2” of the system is being used for voice and commanding with
no impact to station activities. Flight controllers are analyzing the
problem to determine if any procedural adjustments must be made for
the upcoming flight of Discovery to the station on the STS-116

In other activities, the crew conducted sound level measurements in
the station’s modules and installed cables in the Russian segment of
the station. They performed regular station maintenance and took time
to chat with a reporter from the Orange County Register in California
on Tuesday. Reiter continued his work with European plant growth
experiments while throughout the week Lopez-Alegria did log entries
for a sleep experiment.

In two weeks, the crew will begin preparations for a spacewalk Nov. 22
by Tyurin and Lopez-Alegria in Russian Orlan suits from the Pirs
Docking Compartment to replace and retrieve several science
experiments from the hull of the Zvezda Service Module. Tyurin also
plans to hit a golf ball from a bracket on Pirs as part of a Russian
commercial activity.

The next station status report will be issued Nov. 3 or earlier if
events warrant. For more about the crew’s activities and station
sighting opportunities, visit: