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Fresh Supply Ship Poised to Launch Toward ISS

Fresh Supply Ship Poised to Launch Toward ISS
The Russian-built cargo ship Progress 17 sits atop its launch pad at Baikonur Cosmodrome awaiting today's space shot. (Image credit: RSC Energia.)

CAPE CANAVERAL - In astory that repeats itself every few months, another critical resupply ship is set to blast off from Kazakhstan today,loaded with badly needed food, water and supplies for the International SpaceStation and its two-man crew.

The grounding of thespace shuttles, which can carry about seven times as much stuff to the stationas a single Progress cargo ship, has left the United States and itsinternational partners struggling to keep the outpost supplied well enough sohumans can remain on board.

So far, they've gotten by, despite a surprise holiday food shortage that leftCommander Leroy Chiao and Russian cosmonaut Salizhan Sharipov munching on candyto make up for lost calories so they could stretch supplies until a Progressarrived on Christmas Day.

Things are better now.When this Progress blasts off, aboard a Soyuz rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome at 2:09 p.m.EST, the crew will not be in a dire food, water or air dilemma. Supplies aretight, but not dangerously so. The ship is set to dock just after 2 p.m. EST onWednesday.

If something goes wrong,NASA and its partners will have time to carefully plan their next step. In lateDecember, the shortage was so bad, the only optionwould have been evacuation. That no longer appears to be the case.

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John Kelly

John Kelly is the director of data journalism for ABC-owned TV stations at Walt Disney Television. An investigative reporter and data journalist, John covered space exploration, NASA and aerospace as a reporter for Florida Today for 11 years, four of those on the Space Reporter beat. John earned a journalism degree from the University of Kentucky and wrote for the Shelbyville News and Associated Press before joining Florida Today's space team. In 2013, John joined the data investigation team at USA Today and became director of data journalism there in 2018 before joining Disney in 2019. John is a two-time winner of the Edward R. Murrow award in 2020 and 2021, won a Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting in 2020 and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Investigative Reporting in 2017. You can follow John on Twitter.