Russian flight controllers commanded the undocking at 3:23 a.m. CDT. Three minutes later, at 3:26 a.m., springs pushed the Progress 7 away from the aft port of the station's Zvezda Service Module. Expedition 5 crewmembers, Commander Valery Korzun, Astronaut Peggy Whitson and Cosmonaut Sergei Treschev monitored the undocking.
Progress engines did the first of two separation burns on command from Mission Control Moscow when it was about 50 yards from the station, at 3:29 a.m. The second was done at 3:35 a.m., with Progress 7 about 275 yards from the station.
Later this morning, at about 6:35 a.m., Russian flight controllers will command Progress 7 to fire its engines in a deorbit burn, which will send it to destruction with its cargo of trash and unneeded supplies and equipment. The spacecraft will feel the first effects of the atmosphere a little after 7:10 a.m. as it begins its fiery descent into the atmosphere.
The undocking clears the way for the arrival of a new Progress. Preparations are being completed at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan for the launch early Wednesday of Progress 8, which will bring several tons of fuel, equipment and supplies to the space station. It is scheduled to dock with the ISS early Saturday.