January 26, 2012
Russia Launches Cargo Ship To International Space Station
Russian cargo ship Progress M-14M (ISS Progress 46) launched from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 5:06 a.m. Thursday morning (Wednesday 6:06 p.m. EST), carrying 2.9 tons of food, fuel and equipment for the crew aboard the International Space Station, reports ABC News.
The Progress 46 re-supply vessel is scheduled to arrive at Pirs docking compartment early Saturday (Friday evening EST).
The successful launch was a critical one for the Russian space agency, Roscosmos, which has had a string of failed launches in 2011.
Last August a Soyuz rocket and the Progress supply ship it was carrying crashed minutes after liftoff from Baikonur, paralyzing launches to the ISS for three months.
And a Mars probe launched in November failed to fire its main engines once it reached orbit. It remained in low orbit circling the Earth until finally crashing down into the Pacific Ocean earlier this month.
Progress 45, which has been docked with the ISS since November, de-orbited Tuesday night carrying back trash and discarded gear. It reentered Earth´s atmosphere and burned up over the Pacific.
Three Russians, two Americans and a Dutchman are currently working aboard the ISS. They are American astronauts Commander Dan Burbank and Flight Engineer Don Pettit, Dutch astronaut Flight Engineer Andre Kuipers, and Russian cosmonauts Flight Engineer Anton Shkaplerov, Flight Engineer Anatoly Ivanishin, and Flight Engineer Oleg Kononenko.
The crew are busy working on various experiments and maintaining the decade-old space lab. The 13-module space station has been continuously manned for 11+ years, and is orbiting at about 225 miles above Earth.
Image Caption: The unpiloted ISS Progress 45 supply vehicle departs from the International Space Station at 5:10 p.m. (EST) on Jan. 23, 2012. Filled with trash and discarded items, Progress 45 was later deorbited, subsequently burning up in Earth's atmosphere. The departure of Progress 45 clears the way for the next unpiloted supply ship, Progress 46, which is set to launch at 6:06 p.m. (EST) on Jan. 25 (5:06 a.m. Baikonur time Jan. 26) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan bringing 2.9 tons of food, fuel and supplies for the residents of the space station. Credit: NASA
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