A Progress M-15M cargo spacecraft was launched from the Baikonur launching site in Kazakhstan on Friday for the International Space Station (ISS), a spokesman for the Russian mission control center said.
“The launch took place at the scheduled time,” the spokesman said, adding that the cargo spacecraft separated from the carrier rocket Soyuz-U at 4:59 p.m. Moscow time [12:59 GMT] and will dock with the ISS on April 22 at 6:41 p.m. Moscow time [14:41 GMT].
Its predecessor, the Progress M-14M, undocked from the ISS on April 19 to conduct a nine-day Radar-Progress experiment to define the physical characteristics of the ionosphere environment around the spacecraft caused by the operations of its liquid propellant engines.
After it completes its mission, Progress M-14M will be de-orbited and sunk in a non-navigational area in the Pacific Ocean on April 28.
The current Progress is delivering fresh fruit and vegetables and canned fish and water for the ISS crew, said Alexander Agureyev, head of the food department of the Medical and Biological Problems in the Russian Academy of Sciences.
It is also carrying books, presents, fuel, medical and research equipment, bed covers, and hygienic items.
With a record of more than 130 launches since 1972 and only one failure, Progress-family freighters remain the backbone of the Russian space cargo fleet. In addition to their main mission as cargo spacecraft, they are used to adjust the ISS's orbit and conduct scientific experiments.