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Progress Launches to Space Station
02.10.09
ISS Progress 32 launch
ISS Progress 32 launch

The ISS Progress 32 cargo craft launches from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Tuesday, Feb. 10. Image Credit: Roscosmos.
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A new Progress cargo carrier launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Tuesday at 12:49 a.m. EST. Less than nine minutes later, the ISS Progress 32 reached its preliminary orbit and deployed its solar arrays and navigational antennas.

It replaces the trash-filled Progress 31 which was undocked from the Pirs Docking Compartment on Feb. 5 and destroyed on re-entry.

The spacecraft is set to dock to Pirs at 2:19 a.m. Friday with more than 2.4 tons of oxygen, air, propellant and other supplies and equipment aboard.

The station's 32nd Progress unpiloted spacecraft brings to the orbiting laboratory more than 1,910 pounds of propellant, more than 100 pounds of oxygen and air, and more than 2,860 pounds of dry cargo. Total cargo weight is 4,894 pounds.

Once Expedition 18 crew members have unloaded the cargo, Progress 32 will be filled with trash and station discards. It will be undocked from the station and like its predecessors deorbited to burn in the Earth's atmosphere.

The Progress is similar in appearance and some design elements to the Soyuz spacecraft, which brings crew members to the station, serves as a lifeboat while they are there and returns them to Earth. The aft module, the instrumentation and propulsion module, is nearly identical.

But the second of the three Progress sections is a refueling module, and the third, uppermost as the Progress sits on the launch pad, is a cargo module. On the Soyuz, the descent module, where the crew is seated on launch and which returns them to Earth, is the middle module and the third is called the orbital module.