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Delta 4-Heavy launch
The Boeing Delta 4-Heavy rocket is launched from Cape Canaveral on its demonstration flight. (4min 35sec file)
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Onboard the Heavy
An onboard camera records the launch of Boeing's Delta 4-Heavy rocket from liftoff through separation of the outer boosters. (4min 40sec file)
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Launch of Atlas 5
The Lockheed Martin Atlas 5 rocket launches at 7:07 a.m. EST from Cape Canaveral carrying the AMERICOM 16 communications spacecraft. (6min 22sec file)
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Press site view
The sunrise launch of Atlas 5 is shown in this view from the Kennedy Space Center press site at Complex 39. (QuickTime file)
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Rocket rollout
Riding on its mobile launching platform, the Atlas 5 rocket is rolled from its assembly building to the launch pad at Complex 41 just hours before the scheduled liftoff time carrying AMC 16. (4min 41sec file)
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Atlas 5 news briefing
Mission officials hold the pre-launch news conference in Cape Canaveral on Thursday, Dec. 16 to preview the flight of Atlas 5 with AMC 16. (40min 41sec file)
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AMC 16 launch preview
Preview the launch of Lockheed Martin's Atlas 5 rocket carrying the AMERICOM 16 communications spacecraft with this narrated animation package. (2min 52sec file)
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The AMC 16 spacecraft
This narrated movie provides an overview of the Lockheed Martin-built AMC 16 spacecraft for operator SES AMERICOM. (3min 30sec file)
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Deep Impact overview
Rick Grammier, NASA's Deep Impact project manager from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, provides a detailed overview of the spacecraft and its mission. (4min 54sec file)
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Science preview
Deep Impact principal investigator Michael A'Hearn explains how the comet collision will occur and what scientists hope to learn. (7min 11sec file)
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Pre-flight news briefing
The pre-flight news conference is held at NASA Headquarters on December 14 to preview the Deep Impact mission to intercept a comet and blast a projectile into it. (54min 19sec file)
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Successful Christmas arrival at the space station
Posted: December 25, 2004

The Russian Progress M-51 (ISS 16P) supply ship, launched Thursday from Kazakhstan, successfully docked with the international space station Christmas day, ending an unexpected food shortage that had raised the prospect of an evacuation.

File image of Russian Progress cargo freighter in space. Credit: NASA
The linkup occurred at 6:58 p.m. EST (2358 GMT) as the spacecraft flew across central Asia, about a half hour later than originally planned.

The docking had been scheduled to occur in orbital darkness over the south Atlantic Ocean just east of Brazil, out of contact with Russian flight controllers.

But at the last minute, flight director Vladimir Solovyev decided to delay the maneuver until the spacecraft could move back into range of Russian ground stations to provide telemetry and television views.

Flight engineer Salizhan Sharipov was standing by, ready to take over by remote control if any problems cropped up, but the docking was uneventful.

"Hip, hip hooray! Congratulations," a flight controller radioed from Moscow.

If the supply ship had been unable to dock for some reason, Expedition 10 commander Leroy Chiao and Sharipov would have been forced to shut the station down and return to Earth by the end of the first week in January at the latest. That would have ended more than four years of continuous occupation since the first crew moved aboard in November 2000.

In an interview earlier this week, Chiao blamed the food shortage on an inventory management problem and the hearty appetites of the previous crew, Expedition 9 commander Gennady Padalka and flight engineer Michael Fincke.

"The last crew kind of got into our food and the biggest problem with that was that somehow they failed to communicate accurately to the ground what exactly had happened, particularly on the Russian side," Chiao told an interviewer earlier this week.

"So consequently, we did not bring enough food with us (in October) on our Soyuz to make up for what they had taken. Unfortunately, we didn't know that right away, it took a month and a half or so of living on the station before we realized our stocks were getting a little low."

The supply ship will be carrying 5,047 pounds of cargo, including 1,234 pounds of propellant, 110 pounds of oxygen, 926 pounds of water and 2,777 pounds of dry goods.

The latter category includes repair equipment and spare parts, experiment hardware, clothing and about 70 food containers, 41 of which include American choices and 29 of which feature Russian menu items. That's enough food for 67 days of operations at one full ration per day per crew member and another 45 days at a consumption rate of 0.8 rations per crew member per day.

That's nearly twice as much food as the crew would need before the next Progress arrives in early March.

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