Busy Days Aboard ISS

Progress M-15M resuppply vessel approaching ISS (Credtis: NASA).

It’s a busy time aboard the International Space Station, with a resupply vessel arrival, crew departures, and an upcoming commercial demonstration test.

Progress M-15M Arrival

On April 22, resupply vessel Progress M-15M docked with the space station, following a successful April 20 launch from Baikonur Cosmodrome aboard a Soyuz-U.  It carried 7,290 kg of cargo including 648 kg of propellant and 420 kg of water. It is the 47th Russian resupply to ISS over the lifetime of the station.

Expedition 30 Comes to an End

Expedition 30 is coming to an end with Commander Dan Burbank and Flight Engineers Anton Shkaplerov and Anatoly Ivanishin scheduled to depart aboard the docked Soyuz TMA-22 capsule on the morning of Friday, April 27. Their departure will end Expedition 30, with Flight Engineer Oleg Kononenko becoming Expedition 31 Commander. The remaining crew will be supplemented by the rest of Expedition 31: US astronaut Joe Acaba and Russian cosmonauts Gennady Padalka and Sergei Revin. They are now completing training in Star City, Russia and are scheduled to launch out of Baikonur on May 14 aboard the Soyuz TMA-04M. The launch was delayed from March 30 due to a breach in the capsule discovered during routine pre-launch testing.

Dragon Launch Delayed

The departing crew will miss the historic docking of the SpaceX Dragon capsule, slated to become the first commercial craft to dock with ISS or perform a rendezvous in space. The Dragon launch has now been postponed yet again from the latest launch date of April 30 to a potential date of May 7 to allow additional time to complete testing.

 “After reviewing our recent progress, it was clear that we needed more time to finish hardware-in-the-loop testing and properly review and follow up on all data,” SpaceX spokeswoman Kirstin Brost Grantham said in statement.

The Dragon will launch aboard SpaceX’s Falcon-9 rocket from Cape Canaveral. The docking will take place with the assistance of ISS crew and the robotic Canadarm. Success of this demonstration mission will allow SpaceX to begin fulfilling its $1.6 billion contract to provide resupply missions to ISS for NASA.

The video below provides a peak into Expedition 31’s training procedures in Star City: