Science & Environment

ISS crew receives Christmas delivery

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Media captionChristmas delivery for ISS crew

A Russian cargo vehicle carrying food and supplies has docked with the International Space Station - just in time for Christmas.

It launched on Monday from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

The Progress 62P vehicle docked automatically with the Pirs compartment of the ISS at 10:27 GMT on Wednesday, after its two-day transit.

Once the crew completes leak checks, the hatches will be opened, allowing them to unload the cargo.

On Monday, British astronaut Tim Peake helped out with a spacewalk designed to fix a component ahead of the Progress craft's arrival.

Image copyright NASA
Image caption US astronauts Scott Kelly and Tim Kopra (seen here) carried out a spacewalk on Monday
Image copyright Tim Peake
Image caption Mr Peake has been practising his photography skills - this image shows the Earth slipping from day into night

US crew members Scott Kelly and Tim Kopra moved a "rail car" on the outside of the ISS a few inches away from the position where it had stalled, so it could be latched in place before the Progress vehicle arrived.

Mr Peake arrived at the ISS on 15 December in a Soyuz spacecraft to begin a six-month mission aboard the orbiting outpost.

He is the first UK astronaut to fly into space since Helen Sharman spent a week on the Mir space station.

According to the Russian Space Agency (Roscosmos), the unmanned Progress cargo ship was carrying 2,436kg of supplies, including propellant, oxygen, water, and food.

This Progress craft recently underwent an upgrade. It features a new command and telemetry system and an improved version of the Kurs radar.

Kurs is the system used to determine the relative positions of the craft and the ISS during rendezvous and docking.

Image copyright AP/Roscosmos
Image caption The Progress craft launched on Monday from a snow-covered Baikonur Cosmodrome

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