Progress M-09M (41P) lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Jan. 27 at 7:31 p.m. CST, reaching orbit nine minutes later. The unmanned supply spacecraft will arrive at the International Space Station (ISS) on Jan. 29 at 8:39 p.m.
In addition to its two-and-a-half-tons of food, supplies and spare parts for the Expedition 26 crew, Progress M-09M also has aboard some special items for the station's astronauts and cosmonauts, as well as payloads paying tribute to two Soviet space pioneers.
According to the Russian Federal Space Agency Roscosmos, several books, magazines and sweets were packed aboard for Russian flight engineers Alexander Kaleri, Dmitry Kondratiev and Oleg Skripocka.
The cargo craft also has a "Russian birthday gift" for ISS commander Scott Kelly. The present is marked "Not to open till Feb. 21," Kelly's birthday.
Progress M-09M is also delivering books by Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, the father of Russian cosmonautics, courtesy his grandson, Sergey Samburov.
The 24-foot long ship also carries a small amateur radio satellite that commemorates the upcoming 50th anniversary of cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin becoming the first human in space.
The 66-pound ARISSat-1, which was produced as a joint venture between the Radio Amateur Satellite Corp., NASA and RSC Energia, will be deployed into Earth orbit by hand during a spacewalk from the station. Once switched on, the minisat will transmit still pictures of Earth and play recorded greetings in 15 languages.
ARISSsat-1 will operate under the call sign "Kedr," the same Gagarin used aboard his historic Vostok flight on April 12, 1961.