Cargo Craft On Its Way to Space Station
NASA — An unpiloted Russian cargo ship got a head start on Santa, lifting off Thursday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan with 2.5 tons of supplies, equipment and Christmas gifts for Commander Leroy Chiao and Flight Engineer Salizhan Sharipov on the International Space Station.
ISS Progress 16 launched on time at 5:20 p.m. EST. It reached orbit in less than 10 minutes. Moments later, automatic commands deployed its solar arrays and navigational antennas.
Engine firings were scheduled overnight to adjust the Progress’ orbit for an automated docking Dec. 25 at 6:31 p.m. EST to the aft port of the Station’s Zvezda Service Module.
The Progress is loaded with 1,234 pounds of propellant, 110 pounds of oxygen and air, 926 pounds of water and more than 2,700 pounds of spare parts, life support system components and experiment hardware. The manifest also includes 69 containers of food.
Among items on the Progress are new laptop computers, replacement parts for the U.S. spacesuits and additional components to prepare for the arrival next year of the European Automated Transfer Vehicle cargo craft.
The ISS Progress 15 cargo ship, which had been at the Station since Aug. 14, was undocked and commanded to deorbit by Russian flight controllers on Wednesday, clearing the aft port of Zvezda for the new Progress. Filled with trash and discarded items, Progress 15 burned up in the Earth’s atmosphere soon afterward.
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