An unmannedcargo ship packed with supplies launched toward the InternationalSpace Station (ISS) Saturday, one week before a NASA space shuttle isexpected to make the same trip.
The Russian-builtProgress 22 supply ship rocketed into space at 11:08 a.m. EDT (1508 GMT) atop aSoyuz booster that lifted off from the Central Asian Baikonur Cosmodromespaceport in Kazakhstan.
NASAofficials said the launch was on time and marked the start of a two-day trek tothe ISS for Progress 22.
"TheProgress spacecraft detached from the third stage launcher," Valery Lyndin,head of the mission control press center for Russia's Federal Space Agency,told the Russian news agency Interfax. "It was placed in orbit; Itsparameters are close to those planned."
Progress 22is carrying more than 2.5 tons of food, water, equipment and experiments to ISSExpedition13 commander PavelVinogradov and flight engineer JeffreyWilliams. The cargo ship is scheduled to dock at the space station'sRussian-built Pirs docking compartment at 12:30 p.m. EDT (1630 GMT) on June 26.
More than5,090 pounds (2,308 kilograms) of cargo rest in Progress 22's hold. Tuckedamong those supplies are more than 1,900 pounds (861 kilograms) of propellant,100 pounds (45 kilograms) of air and oxygen, and almost 250 pounds (113kilograms) of water. Nearly 2,859 pounds (1,296 kilograms) of new tools,clothing and other dry cargo is also included on the manifest.
NASAspokesperson Rob Navias, aft the agency's Johnson Space Center, told SPACE.comthat Vinogradov and Williams will only partially unpack Progress 22 once itarrives at the ISS.
The astronautswill leave the least critical items inside Progress 22 until after NASA's STS-121space shuttle mission - the second orbiter test flight since the 2003Columbia accident - is completed.
Set tolaunch July 1 with shuttle veteran Steven Lindsey in command, NASA'sseven-astronaut STS-121 crew will deliver a cargo module full of new supplies,equipment and other supplies to the ISS.
Among the shuttle crew is European Space Agency (ESA)astronaut Thomas Reiter, who will join the Expedition 13 and upcomingExpedition 14 missions aboard the space station.
Two otherRussian spacecraft are already docked at the ISS. Progress21 arrived on April 23 at the aft end of the station's Zvezda servicemodule, while the Soyuz spacecraft that broughtVinogradov and Williams to the ISS remains parked at a port on theRussian-built Zarya control module. A previous cargo ship - Progress20 - left the ISS on June19.
Vinogradovand Williams are in the middle of a six-month mission to the ISS and have livedaboard the orbital lab since April 1.
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