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Russian Rocket Launch Ends String of Failures to Resupply ISS

A Russian Soyuz rocket with a Progress spacecraft aboard.

Russia's unmanned Progress spaceship successfully took off for the International Space Station (ISS) on Friday, after two previous attempts to deliver food and other supplies to the outpost failed.

Russia's last attempt to launch supplies to the $150 billion space station, which is co-managed with U.S. space agency NASA, ended in failure. The Progress spacecraft spun out of control and lost contact with controllers shortly after reaching space.

Friday's successful launch sent a Progress spacecraft carrying more than 6,100 pounds of food, fuel and supplies into space. The ship will make 34 orbits over the next two days as it makes its way to the ISS for docking on Sunday, NASA said in a statement Friday.

A second attempt to resupply the ISS last Sunday, this time by U.S. commercial space company SpaceX, also failed, with the firm's Falcon 9 rocket disintegrating a little over two minutes into its flight.

Friday's successful Russian launch eased the concerns that had grown in the global space community over the string of botched launches.

The failures cast a shadow over the still-emerging space transport industry, but experts said they had not exposed any fundamental flaws.

The station, a joint project involving 15 nations that is staffed by a crew of six astronauts and cosmonauts, currently has a four-month supply of food and water, NASA said.

Material from Reuters was included in this report.

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