Russia launches cargo vessel for space station

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An unmanned Russian cargo vessel set off Wednesday on a mission to supply the crew on board the International Space Station with a new shipment of equipment and supplies.

The M-10M Progress lifted off from the Baikonur space centre in Kazakhstan and was due to dock to the ISS on Friday at 1429 GMT, the Russian Federal Space Agency said in a statement.

The vessel was carrying 2.6 tonnes of supplies and scientific equipment for the international crew, which includes an Italian, two NASA astronauts and three Russians.

Besides the usual shipment of oxygen and other necessities, the latest consignment also included vegetable seeds and some fruit flies that could help the team grow the first garden in space, the Russian website reported.

The ISS, built up from the first module launched by Russia in 1998, is orbiting 350 kilometres (220 miles) from Earth.

© 2011 AFP

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