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Progress launched to ISS
Posted: Thu, Dec 23, 2004, 11:59 PM ET (0459 GMT)
Soyuz launch (Energia file photo) A Russian Progress cargo spacecraft carrying critical supplies for the International Space Station lifted off early Friday. A Soyuz rocket lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 5:19 pm EST Thursday (2219 GMT Thursday, 1:19 am Moscow time Friday) and placed the Progress M-51 spacecraft (mission ISS 16P in NASA terminology) into low Earth orbit. The spacecraft is scheduled to dock with the ISS at 6:31 pm EST (2331 GMT) Saturday. The Progress is carrying food, water, and other supplies for the station and its two-man crew. Food supplies on the ISS have dropped to extremely low levels, and if the Progress for some reason fails to arrive at and properly dock with the station, the crew would have to evacuate the station as early as December 30. An older Progress spacecraft, Progress M-50, undocked from the station early Thursday and burned up in the atmosphere over the South Pacific.
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