The 20th supply ship to visit the station lifted off at 1:38 p.m. EST. Less than 10 minutes later, the spacecraft reached orbit and successfully deployed its solar arrays and navigational antennas for the two-day trip.
Two pre-programmed firings of the craft's main engine later today will fine-tune the ship's path to the station. Additional rendezvous maneuvers are planned Thursday and Friday.
At launch time, Expedition 12 Commander Bill McArthur and Flight Engineer Valery Tokarev were flying 220 miles over the south Pacific, west of Chile. Flight controllers informed them of the launch as the Progress reached orbit.
The craft is carrying nearly three tons of food, water, fuel, oxygen, air, spare parts and holiday presents. It is scheduled to automatically dock to the station's Pirs Docking Compartment at 2:54 p.m. EST, Friday.
The Progress docked to the station's Zvezda Service Module's aft port will remain there until early March. The crew will stow trash in the Progress and use its oxygen supply to replenish station cabin atmosphere.
Engineers are studying data to learn what may have caused last Friday's severing of a cable that provides power, command and video connections to the Mobile Transporter rail car. Two redundant cable reels support the Mobile Transporter and Mobile Base System, a movable platform that allows the station's robotic arm to move back and forth along the truss during construction and maintenance work.
The Trailing Umbilical System 2 cable appears to have been cut by the system designed to sever it if it ever became snarled or tangled. Video down linked from station cameras confirmed the cable was cut. The Trailing Umbilical System 1 was not affected.
The inadvertent severing of the cable tripped one of two redundant circuit breakers on the S0 Truss, which provides power to the Mobile Transporter. The transporter is not scheduled to be used in the near future, but the severed Trailing Umbilical System 2 cable can be replaced through a spacewalk to provide the required redundancy.