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Submitted by Arthur N1ORC - Amsat A/C #31468

Allard Beutel
Headquarters, Washington           March 1, 2005
(Phone: 202/358-4769)

James Hartsfield
Johnson Space Center, Houston
(Phone: 281/483-5111)


     The latest Russian Progress cargo spacecraft carrying more than two tons of supplies is on its way to the International Space Station. It launched successfully at 2:09 p.m. EST from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Less than 10 minutes later the spacecraft settled into orbit with all navigational antennae and solar arrays deployed.

This is the 17th Progress to go to the Station. It's scheduled to dock with the Station Wednesday afternoon.

As the Progress launched, Expedition 10 Commander Leroy Chiao and Flight Engineer Salizhan Sharipov were wrapping up their work day. The Station was 225 miles over the southern Atlantic Ocean west of Cape Town, South Africa at time of liftoff.

Engine firings are scheduled later today to raise and refine the Progress' orbit and its path to the Station. The spacecraft is scheduled for an automated docking at the aft port of the Zvezda Service Module on Wednesday at 3:15 p.m. EST. NASA TV will provide live coverage of the linkup beginning at 2:30 p.m. EST.

The Progress is carrying more than two tons of food, fuel, oxygen, water, spare parts and personal items for the crew. It is filled with 386 pounds of propellant, 242 pounds of oxygen and air, 1,071 pounds of water, and more than 2,932 pounds of spare parts, life support system components and experiment hardware. The manifest also includes an additional six-month supply of food in 86 containers to replenish the Station pantry. Among the items on the Progress is a new heat exchanger device to replace a faulty component in the U.S. airlock that is needed to resume spacewalks in U.S. space suits this summer.

Also in the Progress are cameras and lenses that will be used by the Expedition 11 crew to capture digital images of the Thermal Protection System on the Space Shuttle Discovery during its approach to the Station for docking during the Return to Flight mission in May.

The photos will be part of the imagery-gathering effort for Return to Flight to insure that the Shuttle has incurred no threatening damage to its heat shield tiles or the reinforced carbon-carbon coating on its wings during launch.

Chiao and Sharipov are scheduled to open the hatch to the Progress a few hours after docking Wednesday to begin unloading its contents.

The Progress spacecraft that had been at the Station since December was undocked yesterday at 11:06 a.m. EST as the two vehicles flew over eastern Asia. Filled with discarded items, the spacecraft fired its engines after undocking to move to a safe distance away from the Station for 10 days of engineering tests by Russian flight controllers. It will be deorbited on March 9 and will burn up in Earth's atmosphere.

Information about crew activities on the Space Station, future launch dates and Station sighting opportunities from Earth, is available on the Internet at:



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