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5 Aug, 2007 19:52

Russian supply ship docks with ISS

A Russian supply ship has successfully docked with the International Space Station, bringing the astronauts 2.5 tons of equipment.

The Progress M-61 is an unmanned space ship, navigated by remote control from the ground all the way on its journey into space.

Apart from computer hardware, foodstuffs, and oxygen, the ship is also carrying new video films, magazines and post sent to the astronauts from their families. On Wednesday, another Russian supply ship packed with waste from the International Space Station was dumped in the Pacific Ocean.

The three permanent crew members aboard the international space station at the moment are the Russian cosmonauts Fyodor Yurchikhin and Oleg Kotov as well as U.S. astronaut Clayton Anderson. They sleep strapped to the walls to prevent themselves from banging into things while floating around in the quasi-weightless environment.

The two Russian cosmonauts embarked on their mission in April and will spend several months in orbit, while their U.S. colleague joined them in June and is expected to stay for around two months.

Back on Earth, Russian Space Agency officials have been talking about their plans for the future.
There have been reports in the Russian media about possible plans for a piloted space flight to the Moon.
Aleksey Krasnov from the department of piloted programmes shed some light on the mystery.
“The Moon is becoming a part of our plans more and more, even though it's not really included in our programme until the year 2015. We have the technology and hope to adapt the programme to include the Moon in it. Mars is possible, although that's something still quite distant from now. But I can assure you that the Moon is at present in our immediate plans,” he commented.

Some media reports have suggested that Roscosmos' sudden intention to go to the Moon was influenced by other countries like China, which also announced plans to go there.

Certainly, the possibility to go to the Moon or Mars can make any astronaut's eyes sparkle. But for the time being, all the current ISS crew can do, is wait for a ride back to Earth.