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Hurricane Ike hits ISS docking

WASHINGTON, DC (BNS): Hurricane Ike has hit the plans of Russian Progress cargo ship docking at the International Space Station (ISS) 220 miles above the Earth. The docking, which was to take place on Friday, will now take place on coming Wednesday.

The delay of the Russian cargo ship is mainly due to the Hurricane Ike approaching Houston and forcing the closure of NASA’s Johnson Space Center on Thursday.

According to information available at NASA, the control of the space station has been handed to flight controllers at backup facilities near Austin, Texas, and Huntsville, Alaska. With the Mission Control Center in Houston responsible for commanding the ISS, both US and Russian officials, have agreed to postpone the docking till next Wednesday.

In the meantime, till the final docking, according to NASA, Russian flight controllers will execute a manoeuver to place the Progress spacecraft into a safe orbit away from the station, which is planned for September 17. Officials said that if by then Johnson's control center is not restored to full capability for docking, one of the backup facilities would be used to command the station's systems.

The Progress spacecraft is carrying along with it more than two tonnes of supplies, which include food and fuel for Station Commander Sergei Volkov and Flight Engineers Oleg Kononenko and Greg Chamitoff.

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