Saturday, April 21, 2012

Russia launches cargo spacecraft to ISS

A Soyuz-U rocket with a Russian cargo spacecraft Progress M-15M took off today to the International Space Station (ISS), said the Russian Federal Space Agency Roscosmos.

The rocket was launched from Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan at 16:50 Moscow time (12:50 GMT), said Roscosmos.

Progress M-15M takes about 2.4 tons of fuel and scientific equipment to the ISS, as well as oxygen, food and clothing for the crew.

The space agency announced that the Progress M-15M was separated from the Soyuz-U rocket and successfully reached the intended orbit nine minutes after takeoff.

After entering orbit, the spacecraft Progress will have two days of free flight to prepare the coupling.

The spacecraft will dock to the Pirs docking module to the ISS at 18:40 Moscow time (14:40 GMT) on Sunday, in automatic mode, Roscosmos said.

This was the second of five launches Progress cargo spacecraft to the ISS in 2012, said Roscosmos.

A cargo ship launched in January undocked from the ISS on Thursday.

The Progress cargo ships have been the mainstay of the Russian space cargo fleet for decades. Russia lost a ship of this type in 2011 for the first time in 30 years.