MOSCOW, February 17. /TASS/. Russia’s Soyuz-U rocket is preparing to launch this year’s first Progress M-26M cargo spacecraft to the International Space Station (ISS) from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 11:00 GMT on Tuesday.
The Progress freighter is expected to dock at Zvezda module of the Russian segment of the space station at 16:59 GMT after a six-hour operation in an autonomous mode, the press service of Russian space agency Roscosmos has said.
Russia’s Progress is due to deliver to the station a total of 2,370 kilograms of cargo, including 420 kilograms of water in containers, 50 kilograms of bottle oxygen, as well as air filters, gas analyzers, smoke detectors, ventilators and quartz watches.
The spacecraft will also deliver around 20 kilograms of fresh vegetables and fruit for the cosmonauts, the head of the department of the Russian medical and biological studies institute in charge of ISS food provision said last week.
"As usual, standard and additional rations and fresh fruit and vegetables - apples, oranges, grapefruit and onions will be sent with the spacecraft," Alexander Agureyev said.
Upon a special request made by the cosmonauts, mayonnaise will be also taken to the station.
Progress M-26M will become one of the last cargo spacecraft of this series. This year another two cargo crafts - Progress M-27M and Progress M-28M are expected to be launched to the station. In late October, a modernized spacecraft, Progress MS will fly to the ISS.
The last spacecraft of the old series - Progress M-29 will fly to space in April 2016. Then only the Progress MS series freighters will deliver cargos to cosmonauts.
Soyuz-U vehicles used for launching Russian cargo spacecraft will be replaced by new Soyuz 2.1 a rockets after the spring of 2016.