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Russia's Progress space freighter docks with ISS   2012-04-23 00:53:48            

MOSCOW, April 22 (Xinhua) -- Russia's cargo spacecraft Progress M-15M docked with the International Space Station (ISS) successfully on Sunday, the Mission Control Center (MCC) said.

"The Progress M-15M docked with the Pirs unit at 18:39 p.m. Moscow time (14:39 GMT), and the docking went on smoothly," according to the MCC.

Some local media reported that the ISS crew would open the hatch of the Progress space freighter at around 21:25 p.m. Moscow time (17:25 GMT) and unload urgent cargo.

The Progress M-15M delivered about 2.4 tons of fuel and scientific equipment to the ISS as well as oxygen, food and clothes for the crew.

Among them, there is a special present for Russian cosmonaut Gennady Padalka, who is expected to fly to the ISS on May 15 and celebrate his 54th birthday in orbit on June 21.

A Russian Soyuz-U rocket carrying a Progress M-15M cargo ship blasted off from the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan at 16:50 p.m. Moscow time (12:50 GMT) on Friday to the ISS, according to Russia's Federal Space Agency, Roscosmos.

This is the second of the five launches of Progress cargo ships to the ISS in 2012, Roscosmos said.

Progress freighters have been the backbone of the Russian space cargo fleet for decades. Russia lost a Progress cargo ship in 2011 for the first time in 30 years.

Editor: Lu Hui
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