A Russian rocket that will attempt to launch a critical cargo mission to the International Space Station on Sunday was rolled to its pad today in Kazakhstan.
Launch of the Soyuz-U rocket carrying a robotic Progress spacecraft, planned at 6:11 a.m. EDT Sunday, will be the first since a third-stage engine failure doomed an Aug. 24 Progress launch. NASA TV coverage begins at 6 a.m.
Sunday's launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome must be a success to avoid the station being left without a crew next month.
Crews are launched atop the very similar Soyuz-FG booster.
If the cargo rocket performs properly, a crew of three astronauts and cosmonauts would plan to launch to the station Nov. 13, about a week before the current crew of three is due to return home on Nov. 21.
The Progress 45 vehicle is loaded with 2.9 tons of food, water, fuel and supplies. Another Progress is set to depart the station early Saturday to make room for its replacement.
IMAGE: At the Baikonur launch site, preparations continue for the launch of Progress M-13M cargo vehicle to the International Space Station. The Soyuz-U launch vehicle with Progress M-13M transport vehicle was rolled out from the integration building to the launch pad today. L-2 days activities have started. Credit: Energia