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Progress Docks with Space Station
A new Progress docked to the International Space Station at 10:29 a.m. EDT Thursday with almost 2.5 tons of fuel, oxygen, other supplies and equipment aboard.

The station's 23rd Progress unpiloted cargo carrier brings to the orbiting laboratory more than 1,900 pounds of propellant, about 110 pounds of oxygen, and 2,784 pounds of dry cargo.

P23 launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan Monday at 9:41 a.m. EDT. It reached the station after a flight of just over three days.

The spacecraft used the automated Kurs system to dock at the aft port of the Zvezda service module. Expedition 14 flight engineer Mikhail Tyurin stood by at the manual Toru docking system controls, but the automated system functioned as designed and manual intervention was not needed.

Expedition 14 crew members, Commander Mike Lopez-Alegria, Tyurin and European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Reiter of Germany, cleared the P23 docking port on Oct. 10. They boarded their Soyuz TMA spacecraft and moved it from Zvezda's aft port to the Earth-facing port of the Zarya module.

P23's sister cargo carrier and a predecessor at the station, ISS Progress 22, remains at the Pirs docking compartment. It is scheduled to be undocked after it is emptied and subsequently filled with station discards. It will be deorbited with its load of trash and burn in the Earth's atmosphere on re-entry.

After its unloading P22 was used as a storage area for a while. Many items brought to the station aboard Discovery on STS-121 in July eventually found a temporary home there until crew members could unload and place them in more permanent places.

The Progress is similar in appearance and some design elements to the Soyuz spacecraft, which brings crewmembers 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.