March 10, 20:40
MOSCOW, April 20 (Itar-Tass) — The second this year cargo spacecraft Progress will be launched to the International Space Station (ISS) from the Baikonur comsodrome on Friday. It will deliver to the orbiting outpost about 2.4 tonnes of various cargoes needed for life support of the station and crew.
“The launch of the Soyuz-U carrier rocket with the Progress M-15M spacecraft attached to it is scheduled for 16:50, Moscow time, from the 31st launch pad,” the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roskosmos) told Itar-Tass. It will be the second launch of the cargo spacecraft under the ISS program from the reserve 31st launch pad (the first was carried out in January 2009), as usually cargo and manned spacecraft are blasted off from the first, Gagarin’s launch pad, Roskosmos recalled.
The spacecraft has on board fuel and equipment for the station, oxygen, water, clothes and food products for the cosmonauts. In addition to the standard cargoes, the ship will deliver to the ISS new detectors for the Matryoshka dummy with the help of which scientists study the effects of cosmic radiation on vital human organs.
The cargo spacecraft will also deliver to the ISS parcels from the families and gifts for the ISS crew, including birthday presents for the future ISS commander, Gennady Padalka, who is preparing for the flight to the ISS on board the Soyuz TMA-04M spaceship that will be blasted off on May 15 (he will celebrate his 54th anniversary in orbit on June 21). Together with him, Russian cosmonaut Sergei Revin and NASA astronaut Joseph Acaba will fly to the station.
The cosmonauts, in addition to the standard rations, will also, as usual, get with the new dispatch from Earth fresh vegetables and fruits, as well as sweets and from their relatives and psychologists. Psychologists will also send to the station 10 DVDs with new films.
The ISS program is a joint project between five participating space agencies, the American NASA, the Russian RKA, the Japanese JAXA, the European ESA, and the Canadian CSA.
At present, three Russian cosmonauts - Anton Shkaplerov, Anatoly Ivanishin and Oleg Kononenko, as well as NASA astronauts Daniel Burbank, Donald Petit and Dutch astronaut Andre Kuipers are on the ISS orbital mission.
The Progress M-15M spacecraft is to dock to the ISS's Pirs docking module at 18:41, Moscow time, on April 22 in an automatic mode.