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Russian rocket docks successfully with ISS

Written by: Staff

KOROLYOV, Russia, Oct 26 (Reuters) A Russian cargo spaceship bringing food, water and essential supplies overcame a docking problem today with the International Space Station, Russian mission control said.

''We locked on the ship to the docking hooks,'' said a spokesman for mission control. ''We are waiting for the next communications window to finally make sure everything has gone well.'' Russian space officials said earlier that a proper seal could not be achieved because a docking antenna had not retracted properly.

At Russia's mission control at Korolyov, outside Moscow, space officials had a tense two hours as they tried to achieve a proper seal.

Once the checks had been made, the doors would be opened tomorrow to allow the stations' crew to retrieve the supplies, said Nikolai Sevastyanov, the head of the Energia corporation, which builds Russian spacecraft.

Russia's Progress M-58 spaceship roared off from Russia's Baikonur cosmodrome in the Kazakh steppes on Monday.

It is carrying more than 2,400 kg of cargo including oxygen, fuel, food and water.

Russian Mikhail Tyurin, American Michael Lopez-Alegria and German Thomas Reiter have manned the ISS since September.

Reiter's mission will be over in December while the Russian and American will spend another five months in orbit.

Russian space officials said there was no danger to the crew and there was enough air, water, fuel and food already on board the space station to last until the end of the year.

NASA has set December 7 as the launch date for its next shuttle mission to deliver equipment to the international space station.

Also on board the Russian supply ship are letters to the space station crew from their families as well as films and books.

Russian space officials said the last such situation was in 2001 when a rubber seal from a previous cargo ship hindered the docking mechanism. Astronauts then made a space walk to clear the mechanism.

Reuters DKS VP0245

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