Russian spacecraft blasts off to space station

By RIA Novosti

Moscow : A Russian cargo spacecraft, Progress M-62, has lifted off for the International Space Station (ISS) from the Baikonur space centre in Kazakhstan, Russia’s mission control said Sunday.

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“The spacecraft was launched in the nominal regime at the designated time (10:12 a.m. Moscow time or 07:12 a.m. GMT),” mission control said.

The Progress vehicle’s flight to the station will last three days instead of two days to prepare the spacecraft’s systems for docking with the ISS more carefully, mission control said.

The Progress cargo spacecraft is expected to dock with the world’s sole orbiter in the automatic mode Wednesday at about 11:30 a.m. Moscow time (08:30 a.m. GMT), mission control said.

The Progress M-62, piggybacked on a Soyuz-U carrier rocket, will deliver 1.26 tonnes of food and water for the crew, as well as fuel to maintain the ISS’s orbit and other cargo and research equipment, including Christmas presents, the Federal Space Agency earlier said.

Russia’s Progress M-61 cargo spacecraft, which was detached from the ISS on Dec 22, will be used as a platform for technical experiments, mission control said previously.

“The spacecraft, which is at the end of its service life, will not be buried at the ‘spacecraft cemetery’ in the Pacific, but will be sent on an independent voyage,” it said.

The cargo ship, like its predecessor, Progress M-60, will be used for experimental purposes before being allowed to burn up in the Earth’s atmosphere.