ISS cosmonauts open tug hatch, bracing for unloading

KOROLYOV. October 19. KAZINFORM. The cosmonauts aboard the ISS opened the hatch of the Progress M-03M ferry which smoothly docked on Sunday to the station automatically and are bracing for unloading, Itar-Tass learnt at the Mission Control Centre in Korolyov; Kazinform refers to Itar-Tass.

True, this "honorary mission" is trusted only in the old-timer - ISS-21 flight engineer Roman Romanenko who has been in orbit since late May.

According to the Mission Control Centre, "Romanenko will dismantle the spaceship's docking unit before starting the unloading operation".

It is impossible to open the ferry hatch right after the docking: it is necessary at first "to pull" the spaceship from the station with a special boom, to check pressurisation of the coupling, to level pressure and to put special mechanical braces.

"It is necessary not only to take away bolts and nuts as well as belts with which each package is fastened in a special console and to carry it to a predetermined place in the station. It is necessary for sure to feed a ten-digital number of a cargo invoice into the onboard computer after every 'visit' to the ferry," an expert explained.

Russians Roman Romanenko and Maxim Surayev are to mothball Progress and to lay down air ducts by the end of the workday, which the crew started this Sunday at a time when cosmonauts usually go to bed - at 01.30 Moscow time.

Progress M-03M streaked from Baikonur on October 15 and docked to the station at 05.41 Moscow time on Sunday; KAzinform cites Itar-Tass. See for full version.

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