Flying 248 miles over northern China, a supply-filled Russian cargo carrier arrived at the International Space Station today after a three-day trip from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
The Progress 45 spacecraft is the first to be launched since the Aug. 24 loss of an identical vehicle during a Soyuz U rocket failure.
The successful return to flight of the Soyuz rocket clears the way for the planned Nov. 13 launch of the next station crew: U.S. astronaut Dan Burbank and two cosmonauts -- Anatoly Ivinishin and Anton Shkaplerov. The three will launch on a Soyuz FG rocket similar to the Soyuz U that failed.
The Progress 45 craft arrived at the station with 2.9 tons of supplies, including 1,650 pounds of propellant, 110 pounds of oxygen, 926 pounds of water and 3,100 pounds of other gear and research equipment.
The docking came on the 11th anniversary of the Nov. 2, 2000 arrival of the first station expedition crew, U.S. astronaut Bill Shepherd and two cosmonauts, Sergei Krikalev and Yuri Gidzenko. The station has been continuously staffed since then.