MOSCOW, December 23. /TASS/. A new generation space cargo carrier Progress MS is expected to dock with the International Space Station automatically on Wednesday, the Mission Control Centre told Tass on Wednesday.
"The docking with the ISS is scheduled for 13:29 Moscow time," it said.
The first of the upgraded Russian Progress resupply vehicles was launched atop the Russian Soyuz-2.1a carrier rocket from Baikonur cosmodrome that Russia leases from Kazakhstan on December 21. The cargo carrier is taking New Year family gifts to crew aboard the International Space Station (ISS).
It was the first launch from Baikonur of a Soyuz-2.1a after an accident in April when Progress M-27M cargo craft was lost. The Soyuz-2.1a rocket blasted off from the Baikonur launch pad with the cargo spacecraft Progress M-27M on April 28. Later it turned out that the spacecraft had failed to enter the intended orbit and communication with it was lost. The spacecraft burned in dense atmosphere above the Pacific Ocean on May 8
Two next spacecraft, Progress M-28M and Progress M-19M lifted off atop Soyuz U rockets.
Progress MS was for the first time controlled via satellite, establishing radio contact with the communication and broadcasting satellite Luch-5B.
Progress will deliver around 2.5 tons of cargo, including fuel, water and compressed oxygen.
The current ISS crew comprises Russian cosmonauts Yuri Malenchenko, Mikhail Kornienko and Sergey Volkov alongside U.S. astronaut Timothy Kopra and commander Scott Kelly and the European Space Agency’s Timothy Peake.