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Cargo ship carries supplies to space station

world Updated: Feb 03, 2010 12:13 IST
Japanese astronaut

Russia launched a cargo vessel loaded with supplies for the International Space Station and its crew on Wednesday, space officials said.

The Progress M-04M entered orbit after lifting off atop a Soyuz-U rocket from the Baikonur facility in Kazakhstan, said Valery Lyndin, spokesman for Mission Control outside Moscow.

The supply ship is to dock at the station on Friday.

Its cargo includes water, oxygen and fuel, as well as mail and care packages for the station's crew of two Russians, two Americans and a Japanese astronaut.

The Progress M-04M will also deliver a mini-greenhouse with artificial soil that will be used for experiments in growing food, Lyndin said. One such greenhouse is already on board.

The ISS, a $100 billion project of 16 nations, is to remain in operation until at least 2015. Assembly began in 1998 and is almost complete.