Resupply ship bound for the International Space Station
BY JUSTIN RAY
Posted: August 28, 2003
A fresh load of supplies -- from shoes to rocket fuel -- is headed for the International Space Station following Thursday night's successful launch of Russia's unmanned Progress cargo freighter atop a Soyuz rocket.
About nine minutes later, the cargo vessel was deployed into Earth orbit to begin its two-day journey to reach the station. Packed with nearly three tons of cargo, the freighter is the 12th launched by the Russians as part of the International Space Station program.
Progress M-48 spacecraft is carrying food, water, oxygen and gifts from home for the station's residents. The outpost is currently occupied by Expedition 7 -- Russian commander Yuri Malenchenko and NASA science officer Ed Lu.
The two men, aboard the station since April, were dispatched to the orbiting complex as "care takers" to keep it functioning while NASA's space shuttle fleet remains grounded by the Columbia tragedy.
The Progress is carrying shirts, sweaters, shorts, gloves, shoes and more for the Expedition 8 crew to wear during their tour-of-duty, plus dozens of American and Russian food containers.
In addition to the usual mix of parts and pieces for station hardware tucked inside every Progess, an Iridium satellite phone and Global Positioning System equipment are aboard for use when Expedition 7 returns to Earth in the Soyuz TMA-2 spacecraft at the end of October.
During the TMA-1 landing in May, an internal glitch caused the capsule to switch into a ballistic entry mode. It landed hundreds of miles off course, leading to a long, tense search to find the craft and Expedition 6 crew.
Sharing the ride up to the station in October with Expedition 8 will be European Space Agency astronaut Pedro Duque. He will spend a week on the station conducting research before heading back to Earth along with Expedition 7. Some of his science experiments were launched on this Progress.
The Progress' docking to the Zvezda service module's aft port is scheduled for 11:45 p.m. EDT (0345 GMT) Saturday night.
That port was freed up one day ago when an old Progress was discarded to burn up in the atmosphere.
The cancelled Soviet space shuttle Buran is commemorated in this special cloth patch available from our store.
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