Supply ship heads for Mir

Russia has launched a supply ship to the space station Mir. The cargo ship blasted off from the Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, at 01:27 Moscow time on Tuesday (21:27 GMT Monday). The unmanned spacecraft, Progress M-43, is carrying fuel that will be used to push the Russian space station into a higher orbit. Mir has been slipping from orbit since its last crew returned to Earth in June after a 73-day flight. Without fuel, the space platform will sink towards the thicker layers of the atmosphere and eventually burn up. Progress is due to rendezvous with Mir in four days' time. To enable the supply ship to dock, space controllers detached a used cargo ship from its parking space on Sunday.