Space Station Crew Jettisons Disposable Cargo Ship

Space Station Crew Jettisons Disposable Cargo Ship
The Russian-built Progress 24 cargo ship drifts away from the International Space Station (ISS) after being discarded by the Expeditio n15 crew on Aug. 1, 2007. (Image credit: NASA TV.)

An unmannedRussian cargo ship cast off from the International Space Station (ISS)Wednesday on a mission to destroy itself as the orbital laboratory makes wayfor an incoming delivery.

Packed withtrash and unneeded equipment, the Progress 24 supply ship undockedfrom the space station at about 10:07 a.m. EDT (1407 GMT) as bothspacecraft orbited over eastern China, NASA officials said.

ISSExpedition 15 commander Fyodor Yurchikhin and flight engineers Oleg Kotov andClayton Anderson jettisoned the disposable space freighter to prepare for theAug. 5 arrival of more than 2.5 tons of fresh cargo aboard a new, Russian-builtProgress 26 spacecraft.

Progress 26is slated to launch spaceward atop a Russian Soyuz rocket on Thursday at 1:34p.m. EDT (1734 GMT) from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. NASA and Russia'sFederal Space Agency expect the autonomous cargo ship to rendezvous with theISS on Sunday to deliver some 5,111 pounds (2,318 kilograms) of fresh water,oxygen and other vital supplies to the station?s three-astronaut crew. TheSoyuz rocket rolledout to its launch pad on Tuesday, NASA said.

Meanwhile,Progress 24 is destined for a fiery destruction in the Earth?s atmosphere. Thecargo ship firstarrived at the ISS in January, where it docked at the Russian-built Pirsdocking compartment. The spacecraft's Wednesday departure left behind itsimmediate successor, Progress 25, and the Russian-built Soyuz TMA-10 spacecraftstill berthed at the orbital laboratory.

Progress 24is due to fire its rocket engines at 2:40 p.m. EDT (1840 GMT) and burn up atabout 3:14 p.m. EDT (1914 GMT), NASA said.


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Tariq Malik

Tariq is the Editor-in-Chief of and joined the team in 2001, first as an intern and staff writer, and later as an editor. He covers human spaceflight, exploration and space science, as well as skywatching and entertainment. He became's Managing Editor in 2009 and Editor-in-Chief in 2019. Before joining, Tariq was a staff reporter for The Los Angeles Times covering education and city beats in La Habra, Fullerton and Huntington Beach. In October 2022, Tariq received the Harry Kolcum Award for excellence in space reporting from the National Space Club Florida Committee. 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. You can find Tariq at and as the co-host to the This Week In Space podcast with space historian Rod Pyle on the TWiT network. To see his latest project, you can follow Tariq on Twitter @tariqjmalik.