December 21, 2005. Baikonur Cosmodrome.
Progress M-55 transport cargo vehicle was launched from Baikonur launch site at 21:38:20 Moscow time.
The launch is aimed at delivering necessary cargoes to the International Space Station (ISS) to continue its manned operation, support living and working conditions for the crew, re-supply tanks with propellant and gases.
The vehicle was injected into a near-earth orbit with the following parameters: maximum altitude of 255,9 km, minimum altitude of 192,8 km, revolution of 88.69min, and inclination of 51.66?.
All vehicle onboard systems operate normally.
Progress M-55 carries about 2.5 tones of various cargoes, including scientific hardware and equipment to perform onboard activities under the foreign partnersí programs.
The vehicle berthing is scheduled on 23 December 2005 at 22:54 to the docking port of the ISS Russian Segment compartment/module Pirs. Progress M-54 transport cargo vehicle that docked to the docking port of Zvezda Service Module on 10 September 2005 is still operating as part of the Station.
The decision about the launch was taken by the Government Board ((co-chairmen: N.F. Moiseev, Deputy Director of Roscosmos and V.A. Griní, Deputy General Director of Machine-building TSNII) based on the statement of the Technical Management about the readiness of the Soyuz-Progress Complex and ground infrastructure involved in the ISS program.
Technical management is chaired by N.N. Sevastyanov, President of RSC Energia, General Director for manned space complexes and Technical Manager for flight tests.
Progress M-55 processing was conducted under technical management of N.I.Zelenschikov, First Vice-President of RSC Energia, First Deputy General Designer at Baikonur launch site.
The vehicle and ISS Russian Segment flight is under control of the Lead Operational Control Team (LOCT) working in the Mission Control Center in Moscow (MCC-M), (Flight Director is V.A. Soloviev, Vice-President of S.P. Korolev RSC Energia, Deputy General Designer).
Based on the telemetry information and reports made by the ISS Expedition 12 crew: Russian cosmonaut Valery Tokarev (flight engineer) and U.S. astronaut William McArthur (commander), all station onboard systems operate as designed.
The Orbital Complex is ready for docking with the cargo vehicle.
Progress M-55 flight is the 20th flight of cargo vehicles launched to the ISS under the commitments previously taken by Russia in this International Project. This flight is the 109th flight beginning from the operation of Progress vehicles (1978) developed and manufactured by RSC Energia in cooperation with space industry companies.
The ISS Orbital Complex flies in a near-earth orbit with the following parameters: maximum altitude of 373,9 km, minimum altitude of 344,7 km, revolution of 91.5 min, inclination of 51.7?.