A Progress spacecraft launches from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 1:38 p.m. EST, Dec. 21. The 20th supply ship to visit the station will arrive at the Pirs docking compartment Dec. 23 at 2:54 p.m. EST.
Expedition 12 Commander Bill McArthur and Flight Engineer Valery Tokarev brushed up on operating a backup, manual docking system in case the standard automated one fails. The Progress will deliver 3,097 pounds of food, clothing, experiment hardware, spare parts and gifts; 1,940 pounds of propellant; 463 pounds of water; 183 pounds of oxygen and air. The Progress docked to the station will remain for several months along with the new craft.
The crew also performed biomedical experiments to study the impact of long-duration missions in space. Maintenance work this week included upgrading software on equipment racks in the Destiny laboratory; restoring the air conditioner in the crew health care system to full operation; and reactivating an air monitoring system.
McArthur completed refresher training with the station's Canadian-built robotic arm. He also videotaped a lesson on how station crews recycle supplies. The video demonstrates basic scientific principles and will be part of NASA educational products made available to schools across the country.