An unmanned resupply shiptook aim on the International Space Station today, successfully launching intoorbit atop a Russian Soyuz rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome.
The Progress M-65spacecraft departed the historic launch base in Kazakhstan at 3:50 p.m. EDT(1950 GMT) and settled into its preliminary orbit after a nine-minute rideprovided by the three-stage booster.
Onboard commands extendedthe Progress craft's two power-generating solar arrays that span 35 feet andunfurled communications and navigation antennas.
A series of precise enginefirings over the next two days will guide the freighter to its automateddocking at 5:01 p.m. EDT (2101 GMT) Friday. It's the 30th such Russian-madecargo craft sent to the station.
The 24-foot long ship willlink up with the rear-facing port on the Zvezda service module, a spot vacatedby Europe's first Automated Transfer Vehicle that undockedSept. 5. The most recent Progress wasdiscarded from the Zarya control module's Earth-facing port on Sept. 1 andthen deorbited over the Pacific Ocean on Monday.
Today's launch, known inthe station's assembly matrix as Progress mission 30P, will delivertwo-and-a-half tons of supplies to the station. The "dry" cargopacked aboard the Progress amounts to 2,866 pounds in the form of spare parts,life support gear and equipment hardware.
The refueling modulecarries 1,918 pounds of propellant for transfer into the Russian segment of thecomplex to feed the station's maneuvering thrusters.
And the vessel has 110pounds of oxygen and air, plus 463 pounds of water to replenish the station'ssupplies.
The space station isoccupied by the Expedition 17 crew of commander Sergei Volkov, flight engineerOleg Kononenko and NASA astronaut Greg Chamitoff. Volkov will be standing byFriday to manually dock the Progress if the automated system experiences aproblem.
Click herefor a Spaceflight Now timeline of the Progress spacecraft?s spacestation approach.
- Video - Life Inside the Jules Verne Space Cargo Ship
- Video - Europe's Special ISS Delivery
- Video - ATV Mission Control
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