Russian Progress Cargo Lofted to Orbit

The Russian cargo spacecraft Progress 41 (M-09M), launched Friday from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 4:40 Moscow time (8:32 p.m. ET Thursday, Washington), has been successfully set into orbit, reports ITAR-TASS, quoting the Mission Control Center at Kololov near Moscow.

At an altitude of about 200 kilometers above the Earth “Progress” was separated from the booster rocket “Soyuz” and continued its flight to the ISS according to the set trajectory. Docking with the International space station is planned on 05.39 Moscow time on Sunday on January, 30th (Saturday at 9:40 p.m. ET Washington). The docking will be televised on NASA-TV.

In addition to delivering fuel, oxygen, food and other supplies, the Progress 41 contains the new AMSAT ARISSat-1 Amateur Radio satellite. Progress is scheduled to dock with the space station on January 30 at 0240 UTC.

ARISSat-1 will be manually jettisoned from the ISS during a spacewalk on February 16, 2011. The satellites features a new software defined transponder that will provide simultaneous 2-meter FM, CW, BPSK transmissions, as well as a Mode U/V (70 cm uplink, 2 meter downlink) transponder.

ARISSat-1, the first of a series of educational satellites being developed in a partnership with the Radio Amateur Satellite Corp. (AMSAT), the NASA Office of Education ISS National Lab Project, the Amateur Radio on ISS (ARISS) working group and RSC-Energia. ARISSat satellites can carry up to five student experiments and the data from these experiments will be transmitted to the ground via an amateur radio link.

In addition, ARISSat-1 will transmit still frame video Earth views from four onboard cameras, commemorative greetings in native languages from students around the world, and a Morse code tracking beacon. ARISSat also will function as a world-wide space communications utility for use by amateur radio operators – including ham radio operators in Floyd County, Va.

More from MSNBC, RIA Novosti, and NASA Spaceflight.com.

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