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Moscow (UPI) Jul 28, 2013
An unmanned cargo ship has docked at the International Space Station to deliver nearly 3 tons of supplies, Russia's space agency said.
The Progress 52 spacecraft docked smoothly with the orbiting station Saturday, shortly after being launched from Russia aboard a Soyuz rocket.
"The docking was carried out in automated regime as scheduled," a spokesman for the space agency Roscosmos said.
Russia's RIA Novosti news agency said the mission returned to the short 6-hour course to the space station.
The previous supply mission took two days to rendezvous with the station.
The cargo aboard Progress included food, fuel and scientific equipment as well as a repair kit for a space suit that malfunctioned during a July 16 space walk, Space.com said.
The still-unidentified malfunction caused the helmet of Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano to start filling up with water.
Progress launches to ISS from Baikonur
"The launch was carried out as scheduled, at 00:45 a.m. Moscow time [20:45 GMT on Saturday]," a Roscosmos spokesman said.
"The docking of the spacecraft with the orbital station is expected at 06.27 a.m. Moscow time [02:27 GMT] on Sunday," the official said.
Progress M-20M returns to the "short" six-hour flight path to the ISS. Previously, the Progress M-19M cargo spacecraft, launched in April 2013, reached the orbital outpost two days after liftoff.
Before that, three space freighters - Progress M-16M, Progress M-17M and Progress M-18M - also delivered their cargo to the ISS in six hours.
Progress M-20M will bring some 2.4 metric tons of fuel, food, oxygen, scientific and medical equipment to the orbital outpost.
Russia's Progress M-18M spacecraft splashes down in Pacific
The spacecraft undocked from the International Space Station shortly after midnight Moscow time and started its final journey towards a remote location in the Pacific Ocean known as the "spacecraft cemetery".
"At 4:42 Moscow time fragments of the space freighter fell in the Pacific Ocean approximately 4,000 km from New Zealand's capital Wellington", the mission control spokesman said.
The launch of the next Russian cargo spacecraft to the ISS, Progress M-20M, is scheduled to take place at 00:45 Moscow time on Sunday from the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan.
Source: Voice of Russia and AFP
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