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Fresh Russian Cargo Ship Bound for ISS

Fresh Russian Cargo Ship Bound for ISS
A Russian Soyuz rockets launches the unmanned Progress 23 cargo ship towards the International Space Station from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Oct. 23, 2006.
(Image: © RSC Energia.)

A freighter packed withfresh supplies and critical repair parts for the International SpaceStation successfully rocketed away from Earth today and immediately beganplotting a three-day trek to the orbiting outpost.

The Russian Progress M-58spacecraft lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 9:41 a.m. EDT (1341 GMT) aboard a three-stage Soyuz booster.

The 24-foot (seven-meter) longship, known in the station's assembly matrix as Progress mission 23P, reachedits preliminary orbit nine minutes after liftoff and separated from thelauncher's spent upper stage.

Onboard commands extendedthe Progress craft's two power-generating solar arrays that span 35 feet (10meters) and unfurled communications and navigation antennas.

A series of precise enginefirings over the next three days will guide the Progress into the station'sorbit for the automated docking at 10:28 a.m. EDT (1428 GMT) Thursday. It willlink up with the usual Progress parking spot at the station -- the Zvezdaservice module's aft port.

The cargo craft is loadedwith 4,812 pounds (2,182 kilograms) of supplies. The "dry" cargoamounts to 2,784 pounds (1,262 kilograms) in the form of spare parts, repairgear, life support and equipment hardware. The payload includes repair partsfor the Russian Elektron oxygen-generation system, which has been shut downsince last month.

The refueling modulecarries 1,918 pounds (869 kilograms) of propellant for transfer into theRussian segment of the station to feed the outpost's maneuvering thrusters.

To replenish the station'soxygen supply, the Progress is bringing 110 pounds (49 kilograms) of oxygen.

The International SpaceStation is occupied by the Expedition14 crew of commander MikeLopez-Alegria and flight engineers MikhailTyurin and ThomasReiter. Lopez-Alegria and Tyurin are beginning their second month on thecomplex, while Reiter has been there since July.

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