This story was updated at 11:32 a.m. EST.
An unmanned Russian cargo ship packed with trash cast off from the International Space Station (ISS) late Friday to make room for fresh delivery due at the orbital lab next week.
The automated space freighter Progress 26 departed its berth at the station’s Russian-built Pirs docking port at about 10:59 p.m. EST (0359 GMT), freeing up a parking spot for a new ship to dock early Wednesday.
Tucked alongside vital supplies on the incoming replacement supply ship will be birthday presents for cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko, who turned 46 today as he and his two Expedition 16 crewmates orbited the Earth, Russia’s Federal Space Agency said.
Russian flight controllers are slated to use the disposable Progress 26 supply ship for a series of orbital experiments before sending it plummeting toward Earth to burn up in the Earth’s atmosphere, the Russian news agency RIA Novosti reported.
on Aug. 2, Progress 26 is the latest in a long line of unmanned Russian
cargo ships to depart the ISS. Similar in appearance to
replacement supply ship, Progress 27, is due to launch atop a Russian Soyuz
rocket at 2:12 a.m. EST (1912 GMT) from the Central Asian spaceport of Baikonur Cosmodrome in
Progress 27 is scheduled to dock at the ISS on Wednesday at 3:25 a.m. EST (2025 GMT).
NASA will provide live coverage of the Progress 27 cargo ship’s ISS docking live on NASA TV. Click here for SPACE.com’s ISS mission coverage and live NASA TV feed.
- Top 10 Spaceflight Stories of 2007
- VIDEO: ISS Commander Peggy Whitson Takes Charge
- SPACE.com Video Interplayer: NASA's STS-122: Columbus Sets Sail for ISS