An unmannedcargo ship launched into orbit late Friday laden with fresh food, supplies anda reported batch of spaceflying snails on course for the International SpaceStation (ISS).
TheRussian-built Progress 25 space freighter launched towards the ISS at 11:25p.m. EDT (0325 May 12 GMT) atopa Soyuz rocket from the Central Asian spaceport of Baikonur Cosmodrome Kazakhstan.
"TheProgress separated from the third stage of the launch vehicle and entered anorbit with parameters close to those planned," Nikolai Sevastyanov, president of the Russian aerospace firm RSC Energia, told Russia's Interfax News Agency after launch.
More than2.5 tons of fuel, equipment, clothing and other vital supplies are tucked aboardthe Progress 25 for the two-day trek to the ISS, whereExpedition 15 commander Fyodor Yurchikhin and flight engineers Oleg Kotovand Sunita Williams await their arrival.
Yurchikhinwill watch over the cargo ship's autonomous arrival and will be ready to takeremote control of the three-module spacecraft from a computer station insidethe ISS if required.
Progress 25is hauling about 100 pounds (45 kilograms) of air, 925 pounds (419 kilograms)of water and 3,042 pounds (1,379 kilograms) of dry cargo to the ISS and willdock at the aft end of the space station's Russian-builtZvezda module, NASA officials said.
Thespacecraft's cargo manifest includes 50 snails to be studied in experimentseyeing tissue regeneration in microgravity, Interfaxreported.
RussianFlight Control spokesperson Valery Lyndin told Interfax that about 531 pounds(241 kilograms) of fresh fruit, vegetables and other food; 299 pounds (136kilograms) of medical equipment and care packages from the Expedition 15 crewfamily members are packed aboard Progress 25. About 831 pounds (377 kilograms)of Progress 25 cargo is reserved for use aboard the station's U.S. segment, Interfax reported.
Russia's Institute for Medical andBiological Problems also included a selection of entertainment DVDs, primarilycomedies, that were either requested by the Expedition 15 crew or recommendedby spaceflight experts, Interfax reported.
"Theypsychological support team is also sending several magazines and booksrequested by crewmembers," Interfax quoted the institute as saying.
Progress25 is slated to dock at the ISS at 1:10 a.m. EDT (0510 GMT) Tuesday at thespace station's Zvezda service module. NASA will provide live coverage of thedocking activities beginning at 12:30 a.m. EDT (0430 GMT).
Russia's Interfax News Agency contributed to this report.
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