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Russian Progress cargo ship follows SpaceX Dragon to International Space Station

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A Russian Progress cargo ship climbs away from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, kicking off a three-day flight to the International Space Station, December 6, 2019. Roscosmos via NASA TV

A Soyuz booster propelled a Russian Progress cargo ship into orbit early Friday, kicking off a three-day flight to deliver 2.7 tons of supplies and equipment to the International Space Station. The flight came less than 24 hours after SpaceX launched a station-bound Dragon cargo ship from Cape Canaveral on Thursday.

The Progress MS-13/74P spacecraft lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 4:34 a.m. EST (12:34 p.m. local time), the moment Earth's rotation carried the launch pad into the plane of the space station's orbit — a requirement for spacecraft attempting to rendezvous with a target moving at nearly five miles per second.

The climb to space went smoothly and concluded eight minutes and 45 seconds after launch when the Progress supply ship separated from the Soyuz 2.1a booster's third stage. The spacecraft's solar arrays and antennas deployed as planned a few moments later.

Sixteen hours before the Progress took off, SpaceX launched a Dragon cargo ship from Cape Canaveral carrying 2.6 tons of space station crew supplies, hardware and research gear. The Dragon is expected to arrive at the outpost early Sunday for capture and berthing by the lab's robot arm.

If all goes well, the Progress will complete its own approach to the space station early Monday, docking at the lab's Pirs module around 5:38 a.m.

The cargo ship is bringing 1,433 pounds of propellant to the station that will be used to maintain the lab's 260-mile altitude. The spacecraft also is delivering 110 pounds of pressurized oxygen, 926 pounds of water and more than 3,000 pounds of dry cargo.

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