Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Russia Launches Fresh Supplies to Space Station

A Russian rocket today sent aloft a spacecraft full of food and supplies bound for the six person crew of the International Space Station.

As a grocery store might deliver goods to your home, Russia launched 2.5 tons of multiple supplies up to the orbiting outpost 221 miles in space.

The night time lift-off occurred on time today at 11:11:49 am EDT (1511 GMT) from Pad 1 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

As the Soyuz lept from her pad, the space station flew high overhead just east of the launch site.

Two minutes after lift-off the first stage of the Soyuz separated on time as the craft speed eastward.

Space station flight engineer Shannon Walker confirmed minutes after lift-off that her Russian crew mates watched the launch from 221 miles above but that, "We (American side of station) didn't know to look for it at that time".

Mission Control near Houston expressed that a loss of signal prevented word from reaching the Americans in the Destiny module.

Progress is currently in an orbit 51.64 degrees to the equator. It's orbital time is 88 minutes, 57 seconds per revolution of the earth.

It's elliptical orbit will be adjusted by a series of burns over the next two days as it closes in on station.

On board the unmanned craft is, according to the space station's flight control room, "1,918 pounds of propellant; 1,100 pounds of oxygen; 498 pounds of water and 2,804 pounds of food, spare parts and supplies.

In total, Progress is carrying 5,670 pounds and five ounces of supplies.

The automated docking by Progress is planned for Saturday at 12:39 pm EDT (1639 GMT).

Four days later, the space shuttle Discovery is scheduled to dock with the orbiting outpost as she begins eight days of docked operations to deliver additional supplies and a storage module.

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