BAIKONUR COSMODROME, Kazakhstan - A Russian Progress 62 spacecraft carrying more than three tons of food, fuel, and supplies for the Expedition 46 crew aboard the International Space Station successfully launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 3:44 a.m. Eastern Standard Time on Monday.
Less than ten minutes after launch, the resupply ship reached preliminary orbit and deployed its solar arrays and navigational antennas as planned.
Following a 34-orbit, two-day trip, Progress 62 is scheduled to arrive at the Pirs Docking Compartment of the International Space Station at 5:31 a.m. EST on Wednesday, December 23, 2015.
The two-day rendezvous was deliberately planned to enable Russian flight controllers to test new software and communications equipment on the vehicle that NASA says will be standard for future Progress and piloted Soyuz spacecraft.
The Progress will spend more than six months at the space station before departing in early July 2016.
Later this morning, U.S. Astronauts Scott Kelly and Tim Kopra will exit the space station’s U.S. Quest airlock to conduct a previously unplanned spacewalk to help move a mobile transporter rail car so that it can be latched in place prior to arrival of the Progress spacecraft.
Image credit: NASA TV