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The Russian cargo ship docks with the International Space Station    
 
August 8, 2000

(CNN) -- A Russian Progress cargo ship docked with the International Space 
Station on Monday, executing for the first time what is expected to become a 
routine maneuver as the giant outpost gradually takes shape above Earth. 

The automatic linkup, overseen by Russian Mission Control, was completed 4:13 
p.m. EDT, one minute ahead of schedule. With the addition of the the Progress 
ship, the space station now consists of four segments, including the 
U.S.-built Unity module and the Russian-build Zarya and Zvezda modules. 

The unmanned Progress vessel, launched Sunday from Baikonur, Kazakhstan, 
carries scientific instruments, linen and personal hygiene supplies as well 
as fuel that will be used to adjust the space station's orbit. 

Supplies are being ferried to the space station in preparation for the 
arrival of the first crew in October. The next Progress docking 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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