November 30, 2004

Launch of Supply Ship to Space Station Postponed

MOSCOW. Nov 30 (Interfax) -- The ship due to re-supply the international space station will take off from Baikonur cosmodrome on December 24, one day later than planned, Interfax was told at Energia rocket and space corporation.

Initially the supply ship, named Progress, was supposed to take off with more fuel and cargo to ISS on December 23, but the schedule had to be changed after officers failed again to increase the space station's orbit on November 17.

A commission set up to look into the causes has not yet announced the reasons for the failure to raise the station to an altitude most suited for docking with the supply vessel.

Earlier, mission control told Interfax that no further adjustment of the station's altitude is expected before December 24.

"The Progress flight, its approach to ISS and docking are supposed to follow the standard procedure lasting two days. Thus Progress should dock with ISS on December 26," a source said. Any other takeoff date would require a three-day flight procedure.

Progress M51 should deliver to ISS almost three tonnes of various cargo, including fuel, oxygen, water and food. The Expedition 10 crew of Salizhan Sharipov (Russia) and Leroy Chiao (USA) are presently aboard the ISS.


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