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Watch live: Progress cargo freighter set for launch to space station

An automated spaceship carrying nearly 5,400 pounds of rocket fuel, food, water and a new Russian spacesuit is set for blastoff from Kazakhstan on Thursday aboard a Soyuz booster on the way to replenish supply stocks on the International Space Station.

The Russian Progress cargo craft is awaiting launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 1451:52 GMT (9:51:52 a.m. EST; 8:51 p.m. Baikonur time) Thursday, roughly the moment the Earth’s rotation brings the remote Central Asia spaceport in line with the space station’s flight path.

The three-stage kerosene-fueled Soyuz booster will heave the cargo ship northeast from Baikonur and drop its four strap-on boosters around two minutes after liftoff. An aerodynamic shield covering the Progress spacecraft will jettison a few minutes later, followed by separation of the Soyuz core stage and ignition of the rocket’s third stage RD-0110 engine.

If all goes according to plan, the Soyuz launcher should deploy the cargo capsule into a preliminary orbit less than nine minutes into the flight. The Progress MS-04 spacecraft should extend its power-generating solar panels and navigation antennas almost immediately after separating from the Soyuz upper stage.

Part refueling freighter, reboost tug and resupply ship, the Progress MS-04 logistics craft will embark on a two-day chase of the space station, accomplishing a series of orbital maneuvers before targeting an automated docking with the outpost’s Zvezda service module around 1643 GMT (11:43 a.m. EST) Saturday.

The supply carrier’s official manifest includes 5,383 pounds (2,442 kilograms) of cargo, including 1,565 pounds (710 kilograms) of propellant to be pumped into the Zvezda module’s fuel tanks, 926 pounds (420 kilograms) of fresh water, 114 pounds (52 kilograms) of oxygen, and 2,777 pounds (1,260 pounds) of dry cargo inside its pressurized cabin, according to information provided on the Russian space agency’s website.

The resupply mission is the 65th Progress spacecraft to launch toward the International Space Station since 2000, and the third Progress flight of the year.

A list posted on the Roscosmos website indicated the Progress MS-04 mission will deliver about 694 pounds (315 kilograms) of food for the space station’s crew, 253 pounds (115 kilograms) of medical gear, personal hygiene items, and health monitoring equipment, 183 pounds of supplies for the Russian segment’s toilet and waste containers, and 147 pounds (67 kilograms) of hardware for the station’s air purification system.

Russian technicians also packed a new Orlan spacesuit inside the Progress MS-04 spacecraft to be used by Russian cosmonauts on future spacewalks. Also aboard the supply mission are myriad cables, photographic equipment and science experiments.

There are 191 pounds (87 kilograms) of supplies for NASA stowed on-board for the station’s environmental control and water recycling systems, according to Roscosmos.

The resupply mission is the 65th Progress spacecraft to launch toward the International Space Station since 2000, and the third Progress flight of the year.

Another resupply mission is due for launch to the space station Dec. 9, when a Japanese HTV cargo freighter will lift off with more experiments, provisions and six lithium-ion batteries to begin a major overhaul of the research lab’s U.S. power system.

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Follow Stephen Clark on Twitter: @StephenClark1.

Source: You’ll find lots of information about the planets Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. Also we have facts about the space station, ISS, SpaceX launch, space program, and outerspace. Space Flight

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Watch live: Progress cargo freighter set for launch to space station

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