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Fresh Russian Cargo Ship Docks at ISS

Fresh Russian Cargo Ship Docks at ISS
The Progress 22 spacecraft (right)is seen docked at the Pirs docking compartment of the ISS on June 26, 2006. (Image credit: NASA TV.)

Twoastronauts aboard the InternationalSpace Station (ISS) welcomed the Monday arrival of a Russian cargo ship packedwith fresh food, equipment and other supplies for their orbital laboratory.

ISS Expedition13 commander PavelVinogradov and flight engineer JeffreyWilliams watched as the unmanned supply ship Progress 22 docked at spacestation a full six minutes earlier than expected after two days of orbitalflight. The cargo ship moored itself to the station's Russian-built Pirsdocking compartment at 12:25 p.m. EDT (1625 GMT), NASA officials said.

"Itapproached beautifully," Vinogradov told Russian ISS flight controllers afterthe successful docking, which occurred as the station passed over NorthernAfrica. "Everything is fine, working hard."

Progress 22delivered more than 2.5 tons of supplies for the Expedition 13 astronauts andtheir Expedition14 successors, who are expected to arrive in mid-September.

Tuckedinside the unmanned spacecraft's cargo hold are nearly 2,859 pounds (1,296kilograms) of food, tools, new equipment and other dry cargo. About 250 pounds(113 kilograms) of water, 100 pounds (45 kilograms) of air and oxygen, and 1,900pounds (861 kilograms) of ISS propellant are also packed aboard Progress 22,NASA said.

Vinogradovand Williams are expected to only partially empty Progress 22 this week,leaving its least critical cargo stowed as the two station astronauts prepareto receive their first human visitors - the seven astronauts of NASA's STS-121mission - slated to launch toward the ISS in five days.

NASA'sSTS-121 crew, commanded by shuttle veteran Steven Lindsey, is scheduled toarrive at the ISS aboard the Discovery orbiter on July 3 with their own cargopod full of new tools and equipment for the ISS. The shuttle will also ferryEuropean Space Agency (ESA) astronaut ThomasReiter to the ISS, where he will join the Expedition 13 crew as its third member.

ISS crewshave been limitedto two astronauts since the 2003 Columbia accident.

WithProgress 22's successful docking, three Russian spacecraft are now moored tothe ISS. An earlier cargo ship Progress21, which arrivedin April, sits at the aft end of the space station's Zvezda service module,while the Soyuz spacecraft that ferriedthe Expedition 13 crew to the ISS is berthed at a port on the laboratory'sZarya control module.

Meanwhile, thespace station's U.S. docking port remains free for the shuttle Discovery'sarrival next week.

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Tariq Malik

SPACE.COM EDITOR IN CHIEF — Tariq joined the team in 2001 as a staff writer, and later editor, covering human spaceflight, exploration and space science. He became's Managing Editor in 2009. Before joining, Tariq was a staff reporter for The Los Angeles Times. He is also an Eagle Scout (yes, he has the Space Exploration merit badge) and went to Space Camp four times as a kid and a fifth time as an adult. He has journalism degrees from the University of Southern California and New York University. To see his latest project, you can follow Tariq on Google+, Twitter and on Facebook.