NASA Television will provide live coverage of the launch and docking of an unpiloted Russian cargo spacecraft, Progress 63P, to resupply the International Space Station.

Launch of the spacecraft carrying three tons of food, fuel and supplies for the Expedition 47 crew is scheduled for 12:23 p.m. EDT (10:23 p.m. Baikonur time) on Thursday, March 31, from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. NASA TV coverage will begin at noon.

Progress 63P is scheduled to dock to the aft port of the Zvezda Service Module at 2 p.m. on April 2. NASA TV coverage of rendezvous and docking will begin at 1:15 p.m. This will be the second of three cargo ships that will arrive at the station in as many weeks, flanked by Orbital ATK’s Cygnus craft and SpaceX’s Dragon vehicle.

The two-day rendezvous for the Progress is deliberately planned to enable Russian flight controllers to test new software and communications equipment for the new vehicle configuration that will be standard for future Progress and piloted Soyuz spacecraft.

The ISS Progress 61 cargo vehicle, currently docked at the aft port of the Zvezda Service Module, will depart the station on Wednesday, March 30. Its undocking will not be broadcast on NASA TV. Loaded with trash, the older Progress will be used for engineering tests before it is deorbited on Friday, April 8 to burn up over the Pacific Ocean.

The new Progress will spend more than six months at the station before departing in mid-October for its deorbit into the Earth’s atmosphere.

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