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Russia Sends Space Station Supplies

.c The Associated Press

  
MOSCOW (AP) - An unmanned cargo ship carrying supplies for the international 
space station was launched Sunday evening aboard a Soyuz rocket, officials 
said. 

The main cargo on the ship - called the Progress - was fuel that will be used 
to adjust the space station's orbit. It blasted off from the Baikonur 
cosmodrome in the central Asian nation of Kazakstan, officials at Russia's 
Mission Control center in Korolyov outside Moscow, were quoted as saying by 
Russian news agencies. 

The unmanned vessel also carried scientific instruments, linen and personal 
hygiene supplies. It is scheduled to dock with the station early Wednesday 
morning. 

The launch is one of two Progress missions ferrying supplies to the space 
station in preparation for the arrival of the first crew in October. The next 
will be in late August. 

In mid-July, Russia's Zvezda control module was put into orbit, linking up 
with the two modules of the station already in orbit several days later. With 
Zvezda linked up, the station can finally be manned, starting what organizers 
have called a new era in space exploration. 

Russia's inability to pay its bills and rocket problems meant the module, 
which contains living quarters and guidance systems, went up two years later 
than planned. 

But construction is now expected to speed up, and the space station is 
scheduled to be complete in 2005, after more than 40 more launches.
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