Spaceflight Now: Breaking News

Progress ship bound for Mir
Posted: Feb. 1, 2000

The Russian space station Mir as seen by a U.S. space shuttle. Photo: NASA
An unmanned Progress cargo freighter was launched into space today, beginning a two-chase to catch the Russian space station Mir.

The craft was delivered into orbit by a Russian Soyuz rocket. The booster lifted off at 0647 GMT (1:47 a.m. EST) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in the remote steppes of Kazakhstan.

Russian space officials expect the Progress, loaded with supplies and equipment for Mir, to dock with the space station on Thursday at about 0806 GMT (3:06 a.m. EST).

Today's launch is another major step in preparing the 14-year old Mir station to be reopened.

The station was abandoned in August, but planning is underway to dispatch a new crew around March 30 for a two-month mission.

The U.S. has long urged Russia to deorbit Mir so that its scarce space budget could be used for the International Space Station program.

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