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The  Russian Progress M-61 cargo ship has re-entered the Earths atmosphere,  burning up over the southern Pacific Ocean on Tuesday.
The spacecraft  undocking with the International Space Station (ISS) on the 22nd December, 2007.
The  spacecraft  successfully carried out scientific experiments for the Russian Defence Ministry.

The  Russian cargo spacecraft, Progress M-62, is scheduled to undock from the ISS on the 4th February.
The Progress M-63 cargo ship is due to be launched on the 5th February and dock with the ISS two days later.

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According to a Mission Control spokesperson, the Progress M-61 cargo spacecraft will remain in orbit until January 22, to  continue to carry out plasma environment experiments. The experiments  also involve the operation of the ship's onboard engines at different thrusts.

"With possible alterations, the Progress M-61's de-orbiting has been scheduled for January 22, 22:06 Moscow time (19:06 GMT)" - Mission Control spokesperson.

The ship is expected to re-enter and burn up over the   Pacific at around 19:50 GMT.

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According to a Russian mission control  spokesperson the Progress M-61 cargo spacecraft was automatically undocked  from the International Space Station (ISS) at 07:00, Moscow time,  Saturday.

"The cargo spacecraft smoothly undocked from the station and was sent on an independent voyage until about mid-January 2008. It will be used as a platform for technical experiments" - mission control official.

The cargo ship would be used for experimental purposes before being allowed to re-enter and burnup in the Earth's atmosphere.

We shall not dump the spacecraft in the Pacific on the same day, but merely move it away from the station to a safe distance. For about a month we shall be staging experiments to study the Earths atmosphere.

Progress M-61 will be deorbited above the Pacific ocean on January 22, 2008. The vacant docking port is now ready to receive the next cargo carrier, Progress-62. Its launch form the Baikonur space site is due on December 23.

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The  Progress M-61 cargo spacecraft is scheduled to be undocked from the International Space Station (ISS) on December 22, and be deorbited over the Pacific.
According to the Russian mission control, as the ship  slowly re-enters  the  outer atmosphere the cargo ship will be  used as a platform for experiments before being allowed to burn up.

"Progress-M61 is to be undocked from the ISS on December 22. However, the spacecraft, which is at the end of its service life, will not be buried at the 'spacecraft cemetery' in the Pacific, but will be sent on an independent voyage" - Mission control spokesman.

The predecessor, Progress M-60, cargo ship,  had also been used for experimental purposes over a period of 5 days before it was deorbited over the Pacific.

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The unmanned Russian Progress M-61/26P cargo ship has successfully docked to the Pirs airlock module on the ISS at 18:40 GMT (2:40 p.m. EDT).
The cargo ship is loaded with 5,111 pounds of wet and dry cargo, including 1,587 pounds of propellant; 107 pounds of oxygen; 463 pounds of water; 2,954 pounds of dry cargo, computer replacement gear, and other needed supplies.

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Docking is planned for 18:40 GMT, on 5th August

progress61 docked
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Progress M-61/26P orbit

progress61orbit
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TLE Data
PROGRESS-M 61
1 32001U 07033A   07214.92056801  .00157583  11754-4  10000-3 0    24
2 32001 051.6164 223.1531 0022120 195.9592 231.8762 16.16562524 35



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"The launch of the cargo spaceship marks the 150th anniversary of the birth of Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, the founder of cosmonautics" - Russian Mission Control spokesman.

progress61_e5
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Credit RSC Energia

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The  Progress 61 cargo ship was successfully launched at 17:33 UTC


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Final preparation for the launch of the Progress freighter have begun.
The cargo ship is carrying about 5,000 pounds of supplies for the ISS, including new parts for the Russian computer system.

progress61
Credit RSC Energia

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