Space Station Cargo Ship Launches With Gifts, Supplies

Space Station Cargo Ship Launches With Gifts, Supplies
A Russian Soyuz rocket launches the Progress 27 cargo ship toward the International Space Station on Dec. 23, 2007 to deliver fresh supplies, birthday gifts and Christmas presents. (Image credit: Russian Federal Space Agency.)

MOSCOW. Dec 23 (Interfax-AVN) ? The Russian-builtProgress 27 cargo ship launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan with cargo for the International Space Station (ISS) has reached the Earth orbit, the Mission Control Center told Interfax-AVN.

"The Progressspacecraft has broken away from the rocket launcher's third stage and reachedthe orbit. Now it has to fly to the ISS, which will take about threedays," an official said after the early Sunday launch.

A Russian Soyuz rocketlaunched the automated supply ship toward the ISS at 2:12 a.m. EST (0712 GMT).

Progress 27, designatedM-62, is the fourth Russian cargo spacecraft sent to the ISS this year. Amongthe things carried on board the Progress spacecraft are food, fuel, scientificinstruments for experiments, sanitary and hygiene products and medicines forthe crew, including fresh underwear, personal hygiene products and medicalequipment.

The spacecraft will alsodeliver to the ISS Christmas and New Year gifts for the crew, and birthdaypresents for Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko, who turned 46 on Saturday.

The U.S.-Russian crew onboard the ISS consists of Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko and NASA astronautsPeggy Whitson and Daniel Tani.

On Jan. 20, 2008, it willbe exactly 20 years since the first flight of the Progress spacecraft. TheRussian cargo spacecraft was designed and manufactured by the Rocket and SpaceCorporation Energia.

Progress 27 is due to dock at the ISS early Wednesday at 3:25 a.m. EST (0825 GMT). The cargo ship will dock at the station's Russian-built Pirs docking compartment, which its predecessor - Progress 26 - freed up by departing the space station late Friday. staff contributedto this report.

NASAwill provide live coverage of the Progress 27 cargo ship?s ISS docking live onNASA TV. Click here for ISSmission coverage and live NASA TV feed.

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