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Progress MS-02 cargo vehicle docks to ISS

April 02, 23:10 UTC+3
"Docking of the spacecraft with the ISS was held at a designated time," an official at the Russian mission control center said
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© AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky

KOROLEV /Moscow region/, April 2. /TASS/. The second new generation Russian cargo vehicle Progress-MS has docked the International Space Station (ISS) automatically, an official at the Russian mission control center told TASS on Saturday.

"Docking of the spacecraft with the ISS was held at a designated time," he said.

A Soyuz-2.1a rocket carrying the Progress MS-02 cargo ship atop blasted off from Baikonur Cosmodrome on March 31. It was a second launch of the Soyuz-2.1a rocket with space vehicle of the Progress family since the April 2015 incident, when the unmanned cargo spacecraft was damaged and failed to enter the designated orbit. The first launch of a Progress vehicle with a Soyuz-2.1a rocket was held last December.

While the cargo spacecraft was on its way toward the ISS, new systems were tested similar to the ones which will be used in the first manned flight of a new series spacecraft Soyuz-MS due in June 2016.

The Progress vehicle is carrying to the ISS more than 2,500 tons of cargoes, including fuel, air, foodstuffs and life support equipment as well as parcels for the crew members.

Earlier, Aleksandr Agureyev, the head of a department at the Biomedical Problems Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, told TASS that the cargo craft would deliver a standard set of fresh fruit and vegetables to the space station: apples, grapefruits, oranges, onions and garlic. "The cosmonauts have not asked for more products apart from their usual menu by April 12 (Cosmonautics Day - eds. TASS)," he said.

Among other items on board the cargo spacecraft is the world’s first-ever microsatellite. Its hull was printed on a 3D-printer. The satellite, designed and made at the Tomsk Polytechnic University - Tomsk-TPU-120, will be put in space from the ISS when the crew make a spacewalk.

Most of the satellite’s parts and components were printed with the use of plastic, while the electric battery unit is the world’s first one to have been made of zirconium with the use of 3D printing technology.

The previous cargo spacecraft of a new generation - Progress MS-01 - was launched on 21 December 2015 and the next - Progress MS-03 - is due to blast off to the ISS on 4 July 2016.

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