Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Russian Soyuz U launches cargo to Station

A Russian Space Agency rocket lofted a major cargo craft into earth orbit early on Thursday morning, beginning a three day journey bound for the International Space Station.

Lift-off from the Baikonour Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan occurred tonight at 9:14:37 pm EDT (5:14:37 am Moscow time) from Pad 1 . The Soyuz upper stage with the Progress M-03M supply ship arrived in a low orbit ten minutes later. The Progress will continue to fly lower than the space station's 222 mile high orbit to allow the craft to catch up and dock on Saturday.

The two stage rocket's on time launch is the first of three main flights from here in Kazakhstan to the station before December. A new station docking segment and two new crew members aboard a Soyuz TMA17 are scheduled to arrive in the coming weeks.

On board the Progress is 1,918 pounds of propellant and fuel; 926 pounds of water; 110 pounds of oxygen and air; and 1,750 pounds of spare parts and supplies for the station's crew, according to the Johnson Space Center.

This 35th Progress cargo craft will orbit earth in a lower orbit than that of the station in order to rendezvous early on. The craft's automatic docking to the Russian Pirs docking port is scheduled for Saturday evening at 9:41 pm EDT.

The orbital outpost was high over southeastern Russia at the time of the Soyuz U booster launch. (Images via Yuzhny Space Center)

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