After the successful departure of the Progress M-13M (45P) from the ISS on Monday, the Station’s Pirs docking port is now ready to receive the new cargo spacecraft. The Progress M-13M is set for a destructive reentry into Earth’s atmosphere late tonight.
Progress M-14M will arrive at the ISS at around 01:07 CET (00:07 UT) on Saturday, 28 January. Although the Progress docking is fully automated, the crew monitors the process and will take over and manually dock the spacecraft if necessary.
As the docking is during what is normally the crew’s sleep period, they will sleep-shift on Friday (i.e. follow a short workday with a nap before Progress docking and then a shortened sleep period afterwards – they will return to a more or less regular sleep cycle again on Sunday).
ESA is flying some small items on the 46P, a new hard drive and filter for the Fluid Science Laboratory, a facility located in the European Columbus laboratory, and a Portable Power Supply (KuPS).
There will also be a so-called ‘personal package’ on board for each of the ISS crewmembers, including André Kuipers. This package typically contains a few items set to them by family and friends.
Three or four Progress spacecraft are launched to the ISS each year, each delivering over 2000 kg of supplies. The Progress stays docked for up to six months, after which it is filled with waste items, undocked and deorbited, before burning up in Earth’s atmosphere.
The launch and docking of 46P will be broadcast live on NASA TV. Launch coverage starts at 22:45 CET on 26 January; docking from 00:30 CET on 28 January.
After 46P, the next resupply spacecraft set for launch to the ISS is ESA’s Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV). ATV Edoardo Amaldi is scheduled for launch to the ISS from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, on 9 March this year.