Russian space craft lifts off for international space station

[ALMATY] A Russian Progress cargo space craft blasted off for the International Space Station from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Wednesday, the first such mission since a failed launch in December.

The space craft, carried by the same Soyuz booster rocket as used for manned launches, took off at 11:58 (0558 GMT) with the launch broadcast live by NASA TV. It is due to dock with the space station on Feb 24.

The previous Progress craft, loaded with more than 2-1/2 tons of food and supplies for the space station, broke apart about six minutes after lift-off on Dec 1.

Another cargo craft, Dragon, launched by privately owned Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX, is due to rendezvous later in the day with the space station where astronauts will use a robotic arm to grab and load it to a docking port.

NASA hopes to resume flying station crewmembers from the United States in 2018 aboard capsules under development by Boeing Co and SpaceX.



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