Russia's Progress Ferry to Dock With ISS Today

Russia's Progress-M-47 space truck, which lifted off from the Baikonur space center February 2, is to dock with the International Space Station (ISS) February 4 at 5.50 p.m. Moscow time. This was disclosed to RIA Novosti at the Russian mission-control centre.

According to its officials, the Progress ferry will dock in the automatic mode. The docking sequence will be supervised by Russian cosmonaut Nikolai Budarin, now staying aboard the ISS together with members of the sixth expedition.

The ISS crew also comprises US astronauts Kenneth Bowersox and Donald Pettit. They have been staying aboard the ISS since early December, mission control people noted.

The Progress ferry will deliver about 2.6 tons of freight, including fuel, food, as well as additional ISS equipment.

The sixth-expedition crew suggested that its ISS stay be extended, so that the seventh crew could train to fly aboard Russia's Soyuz ferry. The crew made this statement in connection with the US Space Shuttle Columbia's disaster.

Previously, the seventh ISS crew was to have flown to the station aboard a US Space Shuttle in early March. At present, Russian and US experts are studying the possibility of launching the seventh crew aboard a Soyuz ferry in May 2003, that is, if the investigation of the Columbia disaster is delayed for some reasons.

Russia, which is ready to provide support for the ISS this year, has two manned spacecraft and four cargo ferries for doing this. However, those countries, which are building the ISS, will have to provide certain financial aid, mission control staffers noted in conclusion.

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