A Russian rocket blasted off efficiently on Wednesday to ship a brand new docking module to the International Space Station. 

The rocket lifted off as scheduled at 6:06 p.m. (1306 GMT) from the Russian launch facility in Baikonur, Kazakhstan, carrying the Progress cargo ship with the Prichal (Pier) docking module hooked up to it. 

The craft efficiently entered a chosen orbit 9 minutes after the launch and is about to dock on the station on Friday, hooking as much as the brand new Russian Nauka (Science) laboratory module that was added to the station in July. 

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The Soyuz rocket blasts off from the launch pad at Russia’s space facility in Baikonur, Kazakhstan, on Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021. 
(Roscosmos Space Agency Press Service picture through AP)

The new spherical module with six docking ports will permit potential future enlargement of the Russian section of the station. 

 

Earlier this week, Russian crew on the station began coaching for Prichal’s arrival, simulating using handbook controls in case the automated docking system fails. 

The Soyuz rocket blasts off from the launch pad at Russia's space facility in Baikonur, Kazakhstan, on Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021. 

The Soyuz rocket blasts off from the launch pad at Russia’s space facility in Baikonur, Kazakhstan, on Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021. 
(Roscosmos Space Agency Press Service picture through AP)

The space outpost is at present operated by NASA astronauts Raja Chari, Thomas Marshburn, Kayla Barron and Mark Vande Hei; Russian cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov and Pyotr Dubrov; and Matthias Maurer of the European Space Agency.