Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Freight Resupply Can Be Tricky in Space - Latest Cargo Shipping to ISS Live on Screen

International Space Station Event Can be Viewed by All
Shipping News Feature

US – KAZAKHSTAN - PLANET EARTH (and beyond) – For anyone who likes to see their cargo depart on an international trailer or a container load of their freight being lowered into the hold of a box ship imagine the emotions going through the minds of their counterparts on Saturday (9 February) when they (and you) can watch the live coverage of the latest resupply vessels to and from the International Space Station (ISS).

At 1.15pm Greenwich Mean Time on Saturday (8.15am Eastern Standard Time) its trash collection (or rather delivery) time as the Progress 48 cargo craft will undock from the ISS and be released into space when it will descend into the Earth’s atmosphere to be destroyed (known as a destructive re-entry) over the Pacific Ocean three hours later. Then at 2.41pm GMT (9.41am EST) on Monday Progress 50, laden with three tonnes of supplies, will launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, to dock at 8.40pm GMT (3.40pm EST) with the Pirs docking compartment on the ISS.

Like so many earthbound truckers the crew had last weekend off, resting up in the most expensive sleeper cab in the world (what do you do with two days off in space?) and now they are preparing for the exchanges this coming weekend when the Progress 50 will dock just four earth orbits after launching. NASA TV coverage for the exchanges begins at 1pm GMT (8am EST) on Saturday and resumes for the launch at 2.30pm GMT (9.30am EST).

The ISS Progress 50 cargo craft is carrying an assortment of freight including food, fuel, supplies and experiment hardware for the six crew members aboard the orbital laboratory. If any technical issues arise, the Russian flight control team can default to a standard two-day rendezvous plan for the Progress that would result in docking on 13 February.

You can watch the whole drama unfold via the NASA TV link HERE.