The crew aboard the International Space Station will celebrate the holidays in style after the Russian cargo vessel Progress 53 docks with the lab Friday.
The unmanned spacecraft, which took off Monday, is loaded with holiday goodies along with food, water, spare parts, and other supplies. It launched from Kazakhstan's Baikonur Cosmodrome.
According to a report by NBC News,
Progress 53 also is bringing the International Space Station a new docking system that will be installed for future Russian spacecraft.
"Once the Progress reaches its preliminary orbit nine minutes after launch, it will conduct a series of automated engine burns to put it on track to fly within one mile of the station on Wednesday," a NASA press release
"That close encounter . . . will test lighter, more-efficient Kurs automated rendezvous system hardware for upgraded Soyuz and Progress vehicles. After it finishes its fly-by, the Progress will loop above and behind the station, returning Friday for a docking to the aft port of the Zvezda service module at 5:28 p.m," NASA said.
The six crew members aboard the International Space Station include Americans Mike Hopkins and Rick Mastracchio, Russians Oleg Kotov, Sergey Ryazanskiy, and Mikhail Tyurin, and Japanese astronaut Kiochi Wakata.
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