This story was updated at 11:32 a.m. EST.
An unmannedRussian cargo ship packed with trash cast off from the International SpaceStation (ISS) late Friday to make room for fresh delivery due at the orbitallab next week.
Theautomated spacefreighter Progress 26 departed its berth at the station’sRussian-built Pirs docking port at about 10:59 p.m.EST (0359 GMT), freeing up a parking spot for a new ship to dock earlyWednesday.
Tucked alongsidevital supplies on the incoming replacement supply ship will be birthdaypresents for cosmonautYuri Malenchenko, who turned 46 today as he andhis two Expedition 16 crewmates orbited the Earth, Russia’s Federal SpaceAgency said.
Russianflight controllers are slated to use the disposable Progress 26 supply ship fora series of orbital experiments before sending it plummeting toward Earth toburn up in the Earth’s atmosphere, the Russian news agency RIA Novosti reported.
Launchedon Aug. 2, Progress 26 is the latest in a long line of unmanned Russiancargo ships to depart the ISS. Similar in appearance to Russia’screwed Soyuz spacecraft, Progress freighters routinely haul new equipment,clothing, water, food, propellant and personal items to astronauts livingaboard the orbital laboratory.
Areplacement supply ship, Progress 27, is due to launch atop a Russian Soyuzrocket at 2:12 a.m. EST (1912 GMT) from the Central Asian spaceport of Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.In addition to Malenchenko’s birthday gifts,the cargo ship will ferry more than 2.5 tons of propellant, food, and othervital supplies to the station’s Expedition16 astronaut crew.
Progress 27is scheduled to dock at the ISS on Wednesday at 3:25 a.m. EST (2025 GMT).
NASAwill provide live coverage of the Progress 27 cargo ship’s ISS dockinglive on NASA TV. Click here forSPACE.com’s ISS mission coverage and live NASA TV feed.
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