February 05, 2008. Baikonur launch site,
branch office of S.P. Korolev RSC Energia
In accordance with the mission plan and Russian commitments under the International Space Station (ISS) project, a cargo transportation spacecraft Progress M-63 was launched from Baikonur launch site at 16:02:57 Moscow Time.
The objective of the launch is to deliver to ISS more than 2.5 tons of various cargoes that are needed to support the operation of the space station in manned mode and provide living and working conditions for the crew. Sent from the ground to the orbit were supplies of oxygen, water and food, propellants, consumables, scientific instrumentation and equipment.
The spacecraft was put into a parking low-Earth orbit with the following parameters: 51.63° inclination, 191.2 km minimal altitude, 263.6 km maximum altitude, 88.77 minutes orbital period.
The onboard systems of the spacecraft operate normally.
At the launch site, the spacecraft prelaunch processing and launch were performed under the direction of the State Commission (chaired by the head of Roscosmos A.N.Perminov). The Commission was basing its decisions to proceed with each next step in processing and launching on the opinions of the Technical Management headed by the President of RSC Energia, Designer General V.A.Lopota.
According to the telemetry data and reports from the crew of ISS Expedition 16, the space station systems operate in normal mode. The station is ready for docking with the spacecraft.
The spacecraft docking with ISS is scheduled for February 7, 2008, 17:38 Moscow Time, to the docking port on the Pirs docking compartment-module vacated on February 4 by Progress M-62 logistics spacecraft which went into free flight mode.
- Currently working onboard ISS is a crew consisting of: Peggy Whitson (NASA astronaut, crew Commander), Yuri Malenchenko (test-cosmonaut Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center, Flight Engineer 1) and Daniel Tani (NASA astronaut, Flight Engineer 2).
- S.P.Korolev RSC Energia is the prime manned space flight organization in the Russian rocket and space industry, responsible for the development of the ISS Russian Segment, its integration into the Space Station and its operation, including development and operation of principal Russian modules (Zvezda, Pirs, etc.), manufacturing, launch and operation of Soyuz TMA and Progress M spacecraft.
- Progress M-63 is the 29th Russian logistics spacecraft launched to ISS within the framework of this project.
- Currently conducted at S.P.Korolev RSC Energia are scheduled factory tests on Progress M-64 and the first Progress-type spacecraft belonging to a new modification. This modification has improved spacecraft structure and on-board systems, its instrumentation is built using state-of-the-art digital technology components, which permits to increase its upmass and enhance its functionality. Launches of these cargo spacecraft to ISS are to take place as early as this year.
- The program of free flight of Progress M-62 calls for conducting space experiments to study plasma blobs occurring during its thruster firings. Upon completion of its free-flight mission, the spacecraft is to be commanded it into a reentry trajectory and brought down to its designated impact area in the ocean on February 15, 2008.