Thursday, April 28, 2011

Progress spacecraft heads to ISS on supply mission

As NASA space shuttle Endeavour gets ready for its final space mission tomorrow, Russia's Progress unmanned cargo spacecraft has headed to the International Space Station on a supply mission.

Federal space agency Roscosmos on Wednesday successfully launched the Progress M-10M spaceship to the ISS.

The spacecraft was launched by a Soyuz-U rocket. The three-stage rocket blasted off from the Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan at 1305 GMT (1705 local time).

The lift-off mass for the spacecraft was 7290 kg, Roscosmos said.

The space capsule, carrying 2.6 tons of cargo, including fuel, water, food, medical and scientific equipment, is scheduled for automated docking with the Russian Pirs module of the ISS at 1429 GMT on Friday.

The Russian segment of the orbital space lab was vacated by the Progress M-09M space frieghter which had undocked from it last Friday.

Wednesday’s launch is the second Progress space freighter launch by Russia this year. The country plans to send six Progress ships to the ISS in 2011.

An unmanned Russian cargo vessel set off Wednesday on a mission to supply the crew on board the International Space Station with a new shipment of equipment and supplies.

The M-10M Progress lifted off from the Baikonur space centre in Kazakhstan and was due to dock to the ISS on Friday at 1429 GMT, the Russian Federal Space Agency said in a statement.

The vessel was carrying 2.6 tonnes of supplies and scientific equipment for the international crew, which includes an Italian, two NASA astronauts and three Russians.

Besides the usual shipment of oxygen and other necessities, the latest consignment also included vegetable seeds and some fruit flies that could help the team grow the first garden in space, the Russian website reported.

The ISS, built up from the first module launched by Russia in 1998, is orbiting 350 kilometres (220 miles) from Earth.