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Progress M-24M will bring fuel, oxygen and food supplies as well as research equipment to the ISS crew. The Progress docking with the ISS is planned at 3.30am GMT on July 24.
A day before the docking with the new space freighter previous cargo spaceship Progress M-23M will undock from the ISS and will go on an autonomous flight until the end of July conducting experiments under ionosphere exploration program. The spaceship is planned to be sunken in non-navigational area of the Pacific on August 1.
Space freighters are used frequently as orbital laboratories. Progress orbited Russian and German microsatellites and explored possible use of an ejection seat to save the crew of space shuttle Buran. Several spaceships are equipped with a descent capsule which brings up to 60 kilograms of cargoes back to the Earth. Before sinking Progress M-13M was used for the first time to test a special launcher barrel which had brought into orbit microsatellite Chibis-M successfully. In 2003 after undocking from the ISS Progress M1-10 has been monitoring the areas of natural disasters and ecological catastrophes by special video cameras for a month.
After fulfilling their missions, Progress space freighters are usually deorbited and burn in the atmosphere on their way to the Earth. Remains of the spacecraft, which did not burn, are usually buried in the remote area of the Pacific Ocean.
The non-navigation area at the issue is also referred to as the “spaceship cemetery” and is located not far from the Christmas Island. This is a designated area, where numerous spacecraft, including the defunct Soviet space station Mir, were sunk.
The current crew working at the ISS comprises Russia’s Maxim Surayev, NASA’s Gregory Wiseman and European Space Agency’s astronaut Alexander Gerst.