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Russian Progress Re-supply Capsule Races Toward Space Station Docking

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Russia’s Progress 58 cargo capsule lifted off atop a Soyuz rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in frigid conditions late Tuesday, local time, on a four orbit, six hour sprint to the International Space Station.

The cargo capsule is carrying 3.1 tons of propellant, water, compressed oxygen, spare parts, research gear and other dry goods

The Soyuz rocket boosting the Progress 58, or M-26M by its Russian designation, lifted off at 6 a.m., EST, or 5 p.m., local time, under cloudy skies in temperatures well below freezing.

The capsule separated from the third stage of its launcher nine minutes later and successfully deployed communications antennas and solar panels to begin the chase of the six person, 257 mile high station.

The Russian freighter is expected to park at the station’s Russian segment Zvezda service module, a docking port vacated early Saturday with the departure of the European Space Agency’s fifth and final Automated Transfer Vehicle.

Cosmonauts will be positioned at a control console in the station’s Russian segment prepared to send remote commands to the Progress capsule in case of difficulties with the automated docking system during the final moments of the approach.

Docking was expected at 11:58 a.m., EST.

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