The ISS Progress 17 craft automatically docked to the aft port of the Zvezda Service Module at 2:10 p.m. CST as the Station flew 225 statute miles over the equator west of Africa. Within minutes, hooks and latches between the two ships engaged, forming a tight seal. The flawless docking completed a two-day journey for the cargo ship since its liftoff Monday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan.
As the Progress approached the Station, Expedition 10 Flight Engineer Salizhan Sharipov was at the controls of a manual docking system in Zvezda, ready to take over the final approach in the unlikely event its automated docking system encountered a problem. Station Commander and NASA Science Officer Leroy Chiao took video and still photos of the arrival.
The Progress is loaded with 386 pounds of propellant, 242 pounds of oxygen and air, 1,071 pounds of water and more than 2,900 pounds of spare parts, life support system components and experiment hardware. The manifest also includes 86 containers of food, about a six-month supply to supplement the food already in the Station's pantry. The crew will open the Progress hatch later today.
Among the items on the Progress is a new heat exchanger device to replace a faulty component in the U.S. airlock needed for the resumption of spacewalks in U.S. space suits this summer. Also aboard are cameras and lenses to be used by the Expedition 11 crew to capture images of the thermal protection system on the Shuttle Discovery during its approach to the Station during the STS-114 mission in May. The photos are part of the imagery-gathering effort to ensure that the Shuttle has no threatening damage to its heat shielding.