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ISS crew begins to prepare for docking with next cargo craft

January 24, 2012, 12:23 UTC+3

Flight engineers Anton Shkaplerov and Oleg Kononenko have three-hour training with the tele-operator control system

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MOSCOW, January 24 (Itar-Tass) — The Progress M-13M cargo craft successfully undocked from the ISS on Tuesday, and the next space cargo vehicle is planned to dock with the station in four days. The launch is planned for January 26.

The Russians of ISS Crew 30 begin to prepare for its arrival.

Flight engineers Anton Shkaplerov and Oleg Kononenko have three-hour training with the tele-operator control system.

The system is used for manual docking if a cargo craft fails to dock automatically. The cosmonauts may need to use the skills early in the morning on January 28, when Progress M-14M delivers more than 2.5 tonnes of cargoes to the station for its functioning and the crew's life support.

The manual docking system failed to operate properly in July 2010 when Progress M-06M approached the ISS but did not dock with the station in the first attempt. The special commission established that the operation to bring the vehicle closer was stopped automatically due to interference in the signal and failure of the "Work" button in the docking control system aboard the Zvezda module. Chief Russian mission controller Vladimir Solovyov supposed that the button was not sufficiently protected from uncontrolled pushing. After the incident, cosmonauts are very careful to use the button.

Besides, the Russian crewmembers this Tuesday are busy with medical experiments and work with the ball mannequin Matryoshka-R used by scientists to study the influence of space radiation on human organs on long space missions.

Flight engineer Anatoly Ivanishin is expected to take the data from the Lyulin-5 system and record the information in the electronic memory card. The device consists of two units -- an electronic system and detectors. It is placed as a belt around the mannequin. The crew takes the radiation measurements from the belt once in two weeks and reports the information to the earth. The device has a memory card, an electronic disk that is delivered by crewmembers aboard a Soyuz to the earth once in six months.

The Matryoshka experiment began in January 2004, when two mannequins, the European Mr Rando and the Russian Matryoshka-R, were delivered to the ISS. They are made of unique materials, similar for their chemical content to a human body. The detectors determine radiation doses received on long space missions. The information will be used by specialists to estimate radiation doses and develop effective protection for cosmonauts on interplanetary missions.



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