Russian Cargo Ship Casts Off from Space Station

Fresh Cargo Ship Delivers Gifts to Station Astronauts
The unmanned Progress 27 cargo closes in on the International Space Station's Pirs docking port carrying Christmas gifts and other supplies during its smooth Dec. 26, 2007 docking. (Image credit: NASA TV.)

MOSCOW (Interfax-AVN) — The Russian cargospacecraft Progress M-62 left the International Space Station (ISS) on Monday.

"Theundocking of the Progress spacecraft M-62 proceeded without accidents,"Flight Control in Korolyov, Moscow region, told Interfax.

The cargoship, also known as Progress 27, has been docked to the ISS since December 26,2007.

Flight Control Center spokesman Valery Lyndin said thatthe spacecraft will launch into an autonomous flight for two weeks after theundocking. With its assistance, Russian scientists will conduct thePlasma-Progress test similar to the test conducted on the cargo spacecraftProgress M-60 last fall.

In thesecond half of February, Progress M-60 will be dumped into the so-called Spacecraft Cemetery in the Pacific Ocean, 3,000 kilometers from New Zealand.

Beforeundocking, the ISS crew including Russian astronaut Yuri Malenchenko, NASAastronauts Peggy Whitson and Daniel Tani loaded the spacecraft with waste andused equipment, while stripping the craft of all expensive equipment that willbe taken to Earth either on the U.S. shuttle or on Russian's piloted spacecraftSoyuz.

"ProgressM-62 has made out space for the next spacecraft to be launched from Baikonur onFebruary 5, at 4 p.m. Moscow time.

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