BAIKONUR COSMODROME /Kazakhstan/, November 24. /TASS/. A Soyuz-2.1b carrier rocket with the Progress M-UM space freighter and the Prichal nodal module blasted off from Launch Pad No. 31 (‘Vostok’) of the Baikonur spaceport to the International Space Station (ISS), a TASS correspondent reported from the scene.
In about nine minutes, the head unit comprising the space freighter and the module separated from the upper stage of the carrier rocket and embarked on its autonomous flight to the orbital outpost.
The flight to the ISS will take two days. The docking with the Russian Nauka multi-purpose laboratory module is expected at 18:25 Moscow time on November 26. Currently, the Progress MS-17 space freighter is parked at the Nauka module’s docking port. It is scheduled to undock from the orbital outpost at 14:18 Moscow time on November 25.
A total of 8.18 tonnes of payload will be delivered into orbit. Cosmonautics historian Alexander Zheleznyakov told TASS on Tuesday that the Soyuz-2 carrier rocket would deliver a record payload weight to the ISS.
Roscosmos Chief Dmitry Rogozin said that the new module would boost the capabilities of Russian spaceships, including the latest Oryol spacecraft, to dock with the ISS. Overall, the new module will have five docking ports. The first docking of a manned spacecraft with the Prichal module is scheduled for March 18.
The spacecraft-module is also due to deliver about 700 kg of various cargo to the ISS, including equipment and consumables, water purification, medical control including sanitary and hygienic supplies, maintenance and repair tools, as well as standard food rations for the 66th Main Expedition crew.