December 26, 2004

It's Christmas all over

Even up!

A Russian cargo vessel bearing Christmas gifts and vital supplies of food and fuel has docked with the International Space Station (ISS), Interfax quoted the Mission Control Centre near Moscow as saying.

The ISS is depending on these robot supply ships from the Russians since the Space Shuttle has been grounded. Problem is, their cargo capacity is very small compared to what the Shuttle used to deliver.

The vessel was delivering more than two tonnes of water, oxygen, food, fuel and scientific materials -- as well as unspecified Christmas presents -- to Russian Salizhan Sharipov and American Leroy Chiao.

Supplies levels were critical. The astronauts were rationing food and would have had to abandon the ISS and return to Earth without this delivery.

This next part will probably scare hell out of Buckethead over at the Ministry.

A German-made Rockviss robot, designed to complete repairs on the outer surface of the station, was also in the emergency supply package.

Scientists will be eager to deploy the robot, which can be controlled from earth and is seen as opening new possibilities for space exploration.

So the ISS lives. Unlike a lot of people, I think that's a good thing. Having this 'permanent' presence in space is important, and it's worth can't be measured just in dollars.

Posted by: Ted at 09:36 AM | category: Space Program
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