Image: Progress craft
A Russian-made Progress cargo craft closes in for a docking with the international space station on Tuesday, with the sun glinting off its hull.
updated 5/12/2009 4:45:59 PM ET 2009-05-12T20:45:59

An unmanned cargo ship docked successfully Tuesday at the international space station.

The ship's cargo included fuel, food and gifts for the crew, as well as a new spacesuit.

The five-day flight was about twice the usual length. This flight marked the second voyage of an updated Progress craft that has a lightweight digital control system. Russian space officials scheduled the extended trip to test the new system.

Russia's Itar-Tass news agency said the docking took place shortly before bedtime for the crew, and they would not open the hatches until Wednesday. Once the cargo ship has been unloaded, it will serve as a trash receptacle.

Russian cosmonaut Gennady Padalka, NASA astronaut Michael Barratt and Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata are currently aboard the station. Three more spacefliers — Russia's Roman Romanenko, the European Space Agency's Frank De Winne and Canada's Bob Thirsk — are due to join them late this month, officially expanding the station's expedition crew to six for the first time.

The long-term mission, known as Expedition 20, would also mark the first time crew members are aboard the station representing all five of the project's major partners, NASA says.

This report was supplemented by

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