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Cargo Ship Delivers Healthy Halloween Treats to Space Station

New Russian Cargo Ship Blasts Off for Space Station
The unmanned Russian Progress 40 cargo ship blasts off atop a Soyuz rocket on Oct. 27, 2010 to deliver 2.5 tons of supplies to the International Space Station. (Image credit: RSC Energia [<a href=>Full Story</a>])

A new Russian cargo ship arrived at the InternationalSpace Station today to deliver tons of food and supplies ? including the treatof fresh fruit ? to the orbiting lab's crew just in time for Halloween.

While fruits and vegetables may not sound like a traditionalHalloween treat, any fresh foods are a treasure for astronauts serving a months-long mission on the space station.

Fresh produce is typically packedalong with the tons of supplies delivered on each Russian cargo ship thatvisits the space station, so the fruit on the new cargo ship only happens to be a timelytreat.

Even though Halloweenarrives tomorrow, there are no specifically spooky candy treats aboard theProgress 40 cargo ship for space station crew, NASA officials told [10 Space Station HorrorStories]

Progress 40 dockedat the space station today (Oct. 30) at 12:36 p.m. EDT (1636 GMT). Its supplies will be used by the station's three American astronauts, representing NASA, and three cosmonauts with Russia's Federal Space Agency.

Russia's Progress spacecraft are designed to parkthemselves at the InternationalSpace Station using an autonomous docking system. But a glitch duringProgress 40's approach to the station forced cosmonauts on the station tointervene.

Veteran cosmonaut Alexander Kaleri ? Russia's secondmost-experienced cosmonaut ? used a remote control system inside the spacestation to guide the Progress 40 spacecraft to the station's Earth-facing Pirsdocking port. Station crewmembers routinely monitor incoming Progressspacecraft and are ready to take remote control when necessary.

Packed aboard the Progress 40 spacecraft are 2,804 poundsof food, spare parts and supplies, 1,918 pounds of propellant, 498 pounds ofwater and 110 pounds of oxygen. The cargo ship launchedtoward the space station Wednesday (Oct. 28) from the Central Asianspaceport of Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Progress 40, which is also known by its Russiandesignation Progress M-08M, ?is the 40th unmanned Russian cargo ship sent tothe space station since humans first took up residence on the outpost 10 yearsago. It replaces the older cargo ship Progress 37, which undocked from thestation on Oct. 25.

The new cargo ship arrived at the space station during abusy time for the orbiting laboratory's crew. The station crew is preparing forthe arrival of six astronauts aboard NASA's spaceshuttle Discovery next week. The shuttle mission will be the last flight ofDiscovery before it is retired along with the rest of NASA's fleet next year.

Discovery was originally scheduled to launch on Monday,Nov. 1, but a pair of leaky helium and nitrogen seals have delayed the launchto Wednesday, Nov. 3. If Discovery launches from NASA's Kennedy Space Center inFlorida as planned, the shuttle and its crew will arrive at the space stationon Friday, Nov. 5.

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Tariq Malik

SPACE.COM EDITOR IN CHIEF — Tariq joined the team in 2001 as a staff writer, and later editor, covering human spaceflight, exploration and space science. He became's Managing Editor in 2009. Before joining, Tariq was a staff reporter for The Los Angeles Times. He is also an Eagle Scout (yes, he has the Space Exploration merit badge) and went to Space Camp four times as a kid and a fifth time as an adult. He has journalism degrees from the University of Southern California and New York University. To see his latest project, you can follow Tariq on Google+, Twitter and on Facebook.