Progress cargo spacecraft docks with ISS

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Moscow, Sep 18 (UNI) The Progress M-65 freighter has successfully docked with the International Space Station (ISS) after a four-day delay caused by Hurricane Ike forcing the evacuation of NASA's space centre in Houston last week, Russia's mission control said today.

It was launched on board a Soyuz rocket from the Baikonur space centre in Kazakhstan on September 10.

It has delivered more than 2.5 tonnes of fuel, oxygen, water, food and medical supplies, as well as the latest Russian-designed space suit for use during a space walk by Russian crewmembers on board the ISS.

The fully computerised new Orlan-MK suit is an updated version of the Orlan-M, which was used by previous crews.

NASA made an official request for the Progress docking to be delayed after around a million people, including staff at NASA's mission control in Texas, were forced to flee as the devastating Hurricane Ike approached the US state.

NASA spokesman in Russia, Mark Bowman, said the mission control centre in Houston, which has suffered slight damage, would not reopen until Monday at the earliest.

The space station's US segment is currently being controlled by a backup centre in Huntsville, Alabama.

The current ISS crew comprises of Russian astronauts Sergei Volkov and Oleg Kononenko, and a US astronaut Greg Chamitoff. The crew is scheduled to increase from three members to six in May 2009.

The next launch of a manned Soyuz spacecraft to the ISS is scheduled for October 12.


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