Progress 62, a Russian cargo spacecraft bound for the International Space Station, launched successfully today from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
The Progress blasted off at 3:44 a.m., or 2:44 p.m. local time, on Dec. 21. Russian Mission Control said the craft reached orbit roughly nine minutes later.
Loaded with more than three tons of food, fuel and supplies, the spacecraft is booked for a two-day journey to the orbiting space station, where it’s scheduled to dock at 5:31 a.m. EST on Dec. 23.
A longer-than-usual route was charted to the ISS to allow Russian flight controllers to test new software and communications equipment on the Progress. The latest Progress boasts upgraded features such as digital controls and improved docking technology.
The spacecraft will remain at the station until July, when it will begin a controlled de-orbit into the Earth’s atmosphere and disintegration over the Pacific.