The night sky’s third brightest object – the International Space Station – now is under computer control from its newest addition, the Zvezda service module, following a ‘handover’ of that responsibility this weekend from the Zarya control module.
Zvezda now is handling all attitude maneuvers of the 60-ton complex through its own Motion Control System following the automatic docking last Tuesday night. Since then, leak checks have been performed verifying a tight seal between Zarya and Zvezda.
Additionally, commanding through the Unity node’s early communications system was transferred to Zvezda as well, meaning that equipment can be powered via ground commands sent from Moscow, through Houston and up to the station. Russian ground stations continue to serve as the primary method of sending commands and receiving data from the ISS. Prior to the transition of computer control, Zvezda’s three computers were rebooted to allow them to synchronize properly before the formal swap.
The remainder of this week will see flight controllers oversee routine battery cycling aboard Zarya and an automatic docking system test in preparation for the arrival of the Progress supply vehicle being readied for launch on Sunday.
The Progress, in final processing at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, will ride to orbit on a Soyuz rocket with liftoff tentatively scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Eastern Time on Aug. 6. At present, docking is scheduled for 3:46 on the afternoon of Aug. 8. NASA TV will cover the docking live, but not the launch.
At just under 120 feet in length, and a wingspan of 95 feet (Zvezda’s solar arrays), the ISS when visible is the third brightest object crossing the night sky. Only the Moon and Venus shine brighter. Check the spaceflight website to see when the ISS is visible in your area by visiting: http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/realdata/sightings/
For updates on all aspects of the goings on in the world of human spaceflight, visit: http://spaceflight.nasa.gov
The next Mission Control Center status report will be issued on Monday, Aug. 7, with a Progress hopefully on its way carrying supplies and logistics that will be used by the first expedition crew to live on the complex. For more information, call the Johnson Space Center Newsroom at 281/483-5111.
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