The Russian Progress M1-11 cargo craft, which was turned into a research lab ten years ago, will be sunk in the ocean in the afternoon today, Valery Lyndin, official spokesman of the TsUP Flight Control Centre, told RIA Novosti.
"The deorbiting of the Progress is to begin at the first daily revolution. The braking command will be issued at 1:50 p.m. Moscow time and some 40 minutes later the parts of the freighter that did not burn in the denser layers of the atmosphere will splash into a safe area in the Pacific," said Lyndin.
After they fulfil their design functions, the Progress freighters are to be used for research. As of now, they are the only craft that can deliver cargoes to the International Space Station after the 2003 crash of a US shuttle and subsequent suspension of the shuttle programme.
Changes have been made in the schedule of preparations for the first of the three planned sessions in open space. The activation and checking of Russian Orlan spacesuits, set for June 3, has been postponed until early next week. According to Lyndin, the new spacesuit activation date is June 8. On June 9, they are to be adjusted to size and the crew will replace the suits' carbon dioxide absorbers.
On June 10, the air valves in the Pirs docking port are to be checked. The crew will also test the communications system and attach US-made instruments on the spacesuits. The training session on board the station is planned for June 11. On that day, Gennady Padalka and Michael Fincke will "put on" the spacesuits by entering them through the hatch in the back and train inside the station in making the movements they will have to make in outer space.