The new resupply ship, the 22nd Progress to visit the station, lifted off at 10:08 a.m. CDT (9:08 p.m. Baikonur time). Less than 10 minutes later, the cargo ship reached orbit, and its solar arrays and navigational antennas were deployed for the two-day trip to the orbital outpost.
Two pre-programmed firings of the Progress’ main engine are scheduled Saturday to fine-tune the ship’s path to the space station. Additional rendezvous maneuvers are planned Sunday and Monday.
When the Progress launched, Expedition 13 Commander Pavel Vinogradov and Flight Engineer Jeff Williams were flying 220 miles over the Earth off the west coast of Chile. Saturday was their 106th day in space and their 104th day on the station.
Carrying 2.5 tons of food, water, fuel, oxygen, air, spare parts and other supplies, the Progress is scheduled to automatically dock to the Pirs Docking Compartment at 11:27 a.m. CDT Monday.
The ISS Progress 20 supply ship that arrived at the station just before Christmas was undocked and deorbited last Monday and burned up in the Earth’s atmosphere. The ISS Progress 21 craft, which arrived in April, remains docked to the aft port of the Zvezda Service Module. That Progress will be used to stow trash and supply oxygen to replenish the station's atmosphere when required. The spacecraft won’t be discarded until mid-September.