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Submitted by Arthur N1ORC - Amsat A/C #31468

  Russian spacecraft carries snails, photo eqt, food to ISS 

KOROLYOV, Moscow Region, March 1 (Itar-Tass) - Russia's Progress M-52 
resupply spacecraft is carrying about 2.5 tonnes of various cargoes, 
including 50 snails and photographic equipment to monitor the first 
flight of a US space shuttle following the lifting of the moratorium. 
The spacecraft was launched from the Baikonur cosmodrome at 22:09 Moscow 
time (19:09 GMT) on Monday.

Nine minutes after lift-off, the spacecraft separated from Soyuz-U 
carrier rocket and began an independent journey towards the 
International Space Station (ISS). It is to dock with the ISS in an 
automatic mode in two days' time, at 23:15 Moscow time (at 20:15 GMT) on 
March 2, an official at the Mission Control Centre (FCC) near Moscow has 
told Itar-Tass.

The FCC official said, "This is the first Russian resupply spacecraft, 
out of four planned for this year. It is to bring American digital 
cameras and a set of lenses for them. By means of the cameras, the ISS 
crew will take pictures of the heat protection coating of the space 
shuttle Discovery during its docking with the ISS several months from now"/

The spacecraft also carries 86 containers with food that will suffice 
for 160 days, a specialist of the Institute of Medico-Biological 
Problems of the Russian Academy of Sciences, has told Itar-Tass.

The Progress is also to deliver European Space Agency (ESA) equipment to 
the ISS, specifically a control panel for the first cargo spacecraft of 
ATV series, craft-to-craft radio link facilities for communication with 
the Jules Verne, and a television camera to monitor docking.

The ESA has also sent aloft equipment for experiments to be conducted by 
Italian astronaut Roberto Vittori, who will go to orbit on a visiting 
mission in April together with the 11th main expedition -- Russian 
cosmonaut Sergei Krikalev and US astronaut John Phillips. The equipment 
includes a Lazio instrument designed to forecast earthquakes, the FCC 
official specified.

Meanwhile, Vladimir Solovyov, director of the flight of the Russian 
segment of the ISS, when speaking at a news conference on Monday on the 
occasion of this year's first launch of the resupply spacecraft, said 
space technologies would soon become closer to terrestrial users.

Telling about promising space technologies, Solovyov said, "FCC 
specialists seek to bring space research technologies closer to users 
down here on Earth. If a subscriber to some mobile communications 
network wants to know a weather forecast for the Ural Mountains area, 
for example, he may contact the ISS crew by mobile phone."

"The ISS crew, using radio navigation satellites GLONASS would be able 
to transmit a respective SMS message to the subscriber's mobile phone. 
The subscriber will have to wait for an SMS message from space for 24 
hours, at first. We have already launched negotiations for this kind of 
services with the MTS, one of major Russian operators of mobile 
communication networks," Solovyov said.
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