The Progress blasted off successfully

A Russian cargo spaceship blasted off Friday morning from the &to=http:// ' target=_blank>Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, carrying more than two tons of supplies for the International Space Station (ISS), the Russian space agency's Mission Control said.

The Progress M-53, which lifted off at 3:10 a.m. Moscow time (2310 GMT), was carrying some 2.5 tons of food, water and packages from families for Russian cosmonaut Sergei Krikalyov and US astronaut John Phillips, Mission Control spokesman &to=http:// ' target=_blank>Valery Lyndin told the Interfax news agency.

Krikalyov and Phillips have been working on the space laboratory since April, reports Xinhuanet.

The &to=http:// ' target=_blank>Progress also carried 111 kilograms of oxygen, fuel and Russian and Japanese scientific equipment for experiments and was loaded with components to fix the Elektron oxygen generating system, which has broken down, Lyndin said.

Russia's space program has been the space station's lifeline for more than two years since the suspension of U.S. shuttle flights after the Columbia disaster, the U.S. shuttle which disintegrated as it returned to Earth on Feb. 1, 2003, killing all seven astronauts onboard.

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