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New Cargo Craft Blasts Off Towards Station
The ISS Progress 40 cargo craft launches from Kazakhstan

Image above: The ISS Progress 40 cargo craft launches from Kazakhstan. Credit: NASA TV

The ISS Progress 40 (P40) cargo craft launched from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 11:11 a.m. EDT Wednesday. The Russian resupply craft is headed to the International Space Station and delivering 1,918 pounds of propellant, 1,100 pounds of oxygen, 498 pounds of water and 2,804 pounds of food, spare parts and supplies. The P40 will dock to the Pirs docking compartment Saturday at 12:39 p.m. The new cargo craft replaces the ISS Progress 37 which undocked Monday at 10:25 a.m.

The Progress is similar in appearance and some design elements to the Soyuz spacecraft. 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.

› Read more about the Progress spacecraft