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Russia launches cargo spaceship to space station

2009-10-15 16:24 BJT

Russia launched a cargo spacecraft from the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan early Thursday morning, the Mission Control Center outside Moscow said.

Local TV showed that a Soyuz-U carrier rocket with the cargo ship atop blasted off at 05:15 a.m. Moscow time (0115 GMT) from the Baikonur launch pad, which Russia leases from Kazakhstan.

The spacecraft separated from the rocket about nine minutes after the launch and began an autonomous flight, according to the Mission Control.

The Progress M-03M spaceship is to deliver some 2.5 tons of supplies, including food, water, fuel, equipment, and parcels from families, for the crew members on board the International Space Station (ISS).

Psychologists prepared fresh magazines and a CD with photos of the recent MAKS 2009 air show for the crew.

The Progress M-03M, Russia's third modified cargo craft, is expected to dock with the ISS in three days. The autonomous flight of the first two modified spacecraft of the type took from four to five days because of a need to "run in" new digital systems, sources from the Mission Control said.

The new generation of Progress vehicles is lighter in weight and equipped with a modern digital control system, which enables the spacecraft to dock with the ISS more accurately.

Editor: Du Xiaodan | Source: Xinhua