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Russia set to resume space flight missions with Progress launch

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Soyuz rocket at launch pad. A file photo

MOSCOW (BNS): After a gap of over two months, Russia will resume space flight missions to the International Space Station with the launch of a Progress unmanned spacecraft on Sunday.

The Progress M-13M cargo spacecraft and the Soyuz-U carrier rocket arrived at the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Friday, Russian space agency Roscosmos said.

The Soyuz rocket is scheduled to launch the cargo ship carrying 2.9 tons of food, fuel and supplies for the ISS crew at 6:11 am (1011 GMT) on Sunday.

Russia had suspended all Soyuz flights after a Soyuz-U vehicle carrying the unmanned Progress M-12M spaceship to the International Space Station had failed to reach orbit on August 24.

Russia also deferred the next manned space flight mission scheduled for September 22, thereby leaving the three-member crew aboard the space station for an extended period of time.

If Sunday's Progress freighter mission is successful, Russia will launch a manned space capsule on board the Soyuz rocket to the orbital station on November 12 as announced earlier.

Following the end of US space shuttle programme in July, the Russian Soyuz vehicles remain the sole means to ferry astronauts and cargo to the orbital station.

Meanwhile, the Progress M-10M spacecraft, which will make room for the new Progress freighter, is set to undock from the ISS at 5:04 am (0904 GMT).

Expedition 29 crew members closed the hatch between the Pirs docking compartment and the Progress on Friday and conducted leak checks, NASA said.

The unmanned spaceship, loaded with trash, will flow away from the ISS and make a destructive re-entry into Earth's atmosphere.

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Russia  Soyuz  Progress  ISS  
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