Wednesday, October 3, 2012

ISS Docking Ports Clear

ESA's ATV Edoardo Amaldi undocks from ISS.

On September 28, the Automated Transfer Vehicle Edoardo AmaldiI undocked from the International Space Station. The craft had docked with the ISS in March this year, bringing fuel, air, supplies, and scientific equipment for the Expedition 32 crew. Having filled the empty interior with station waste and garbage, the Expedition 33 crew undocked the ship and ESA ground controllers maneuvered it into a de-orbit path. It's de-orbit burn will take place today, causing the spacecraft to break up and burn as it re-enters the atmosphere over the South Pacific Ocean.

With the de-orbit burn up of Japan's HTV-3 supply ship on September 14, and the successful landing of the Expedition 32 crew on September 17, the space ports around the ISS are looking a bit empty. Not to Worry! Additional flights are headed that way.

Falcon 9 rocket at Launch Complex 40.

SpaceX has scheduled a repeat of their record-breaking commercial supply launch for take-off on October 7th at 6:35 pm MDT. The Falcon 9 rocket will lift the Dragon capsule into an intercepting orbit and deliver additional supplies to the Expedition 33 crew.

Kevin Ford, Oleg Novitskiy, Evgeny Tarelkin at simulator.

Reinforcements will soon be on the way to the ISS. The next flight of crewmembers for Expedition 33 includes astronaut Kevin Ford (who will command Expedition 34), and cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Evgeny Tarelkin. They are scheduled for liftoff from Baikonur on October 23 in Soyuz TMA-06M.

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