Launch of the second Progress spacecraft to the ISS occurred at 7:33 p.m. Central time (1:33 GMT Nov. 16) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. At the time of launch, the ISS was traveling off the West coast of Africa, just West of the nation of Gabon. Within 10 minutes, the Progress had reached its preliminary orbit with its solar arrays and antennas successfully deployed, headed for a linkup to the Station on Friday night at 9:07 p.m. Central time (3:07 GMT Nov. 18). Shortly before docking Friday, the Progress will execute a flyaround of the ISS, aligning itself to the nadir, or downward facing docking port on the Zarya module. The actual linkup will occur within sight of Russian ground stations. The Progress, which contains about 2 tons of clothing, food and spare parts for the crew, complements the Russian Soyuz vehicle, which is docked to the aft port of the Zvezda living quarters. The three crew members will unload the Progress over the next two weeks.
Expedition One Commander Bill Shepherd, Pilot Yuri Gidzenko and Flight Engineer Sergei Krikalev concentrated today on conducting an inventory of the hardware on board, ensuring that all equipment is well cataloged so that new items arriving on the Russian cargo ship can be properly distributed and accounted for.
The crew also simulated the operation of the manual docking system in the Zvezda module, called the TORU, which would be used as a backup by Gidzenko to bring the Progress vehicle in for docking in the unlikely event its automated docking system failed. Gidzenko and Krikalev conducted the simulation, which was completed with no problems.
Krikalev inspected a connector on one of the Zvezda's battery cables, confirming that its connector has a bent pin, which prevented the battery from accepting a normal charge. The component was disconnected after the inspection, allowing the crew manually charge the battery, if required. Seven of Zvezda's eight batteries and charging systems are functioning in excellent shape, providing more than ample power for Station operations.
The ISS remains in excellent shape, orbiting at an altitude of 240 statute miles as it completes an orbit of the Earth every 90 minutes.