Author`s name Pravda.Ru

Russian space cargo ship to bring 2.5 tons of cargo to ISS

Russia's space cargo ship Progress M49, to be launched from Baikonur, the Russian space vehicle launching site in Kazakhstan, on Tuesday, May 25, will bring 2.5 tons of different cargoes to the International Space Station (ISS). The launch of the carrier rocket Soyuz U with the Progress is scheduled for 4.34 pm Moscow time, the launch control center informed RIA Novosti.

The Progress M49 is designed to bring to the ISS fuel components, expendables, equipment for scientific experiments, containers with food and parcels for commander Gennady Padalka and flight engineer Edward Michael Fincke, the Federal Space Agency reports.

The total weight of the vehicle at the start is 7,283 kg. The weight of the cargoes it will bring to the orbit is 2,566 kg.

"It includes 880kg of fuel for the ISS, as well as 510 kg of reserve fuel in refueling system tanks," the Agency's spokesman pointed out.

Besides, the ship will bring 50 l of oxygen and water to the station. "The Rodnik containers carry 420 l of purified drinking water for the crew," the center's representative told RIA Novosti.

In its cargo section the Progress will carry 1,304 kg of different cargoes. "It includes 35 kg of atmosphere revitalization means, 7 KTO containers for solid waste, 12 water containers and an interlocking device with a capacity of 133 kg. Besides, the crew will receive food - 26 containers with food rations and 192 kg of fresh food, the Agency reported.

The ship will also bring to the station fresh linen, personal-care products and means to prevent the adverse effects of weightlessness. It will deliver new Orlan M space suits, 10 BK 3 oxygen blocks and 4 water tanks to load the cooling system. The Progress will carry 81 kg of means for the board temperature control system, including a pluggable pump panel and a set of pluggable condensate scavenging line.

Apart from this, "the Progress will deliver a new Thinkpad notebook with CD-ROMs and MSD-cartridges weighing 4 kg," the Agency reported.

Cargoes for further equipment of the ISS include a microacceleration measuring device, a set for maintenance and repairs - tools, a safety strap, a case with a light set and a robe cord, with a total weight of 17 kg.

For the American segment of the ISS the Progress will bring 26 containers with food rations, clothes and equipment for extravehicular activities, as well as printer cartridges, totaling 235 kg, the Center informed.

Meanwhile, this year Russia will not be able to afford large-scale construction work on the station, the Agency's expert told RIA Novosti. "The funds do not allow us doing it, we will not have such an opportunity this year," he said.

After the crash of the US Columbia shuttle, Russia has been carrying the burden of ensuring the functioning of the ISS. As a result, in 2004 the country has to make two piloted launches and send four cargo ships to the station. Moscow lays big hopes on the European cargo vehicle ATV, the expert pointed out. "It is a serious ship that can replace 2.5 Progresses," he explained. The ATV is now being tested in France.

After this ship is brought into operation Russia will be able to finance construction of a new laboratory module for the ISS, the expert said.

Anyway, the Federal Space Agency hopes to receive financial support to maintain the station. In 2004 the Agency will spend 42% of its budget equaling 6.2 billion roubles ($1 equals 29 roubles) for the ISS needs. The sum will be allocated for launches of piloted Soyuz ships and cargo Progress vehicles. Russia insists that the ISS construction should be completed in 1.5-2 years and that the number of its crew should amount to six people as soon as possible, Koptev said, adding that Moscow even wants "to supplement the program with another piloted Soyuz".