ORIGINAL ENTRY: The distant launch of a small Russian Progress spacecraft, laden with more than three tons of supplies for the global Space Station, would ordinarily command little attention.
After a series of resupply launch failures, this successful launch and docking with the space station is met with relief from mission ground control and the crew aboard the ISS.
The most recent is the failure that occurred last Sunday when the Dragon supply capsule aboard SpaceX Falcon9 rocket blew to pieces shortly after liftoff.
According to reports, an unmanned Russian rocket will be launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 12:55 am ET Friday.
Then there’s the global Space Station – which ever since the retirement of America’s space shuttle fleet in 2011 has relied on Russian spacecraft for getting fresh crews to the orbiting station. The next cargo ship resupply mission will be manned by a robotic Japanese HTV ship, which is due to fly in August.
Russian flight controllers and engineers were initially confused as to what had gone wrong, but the problem was later blamed on the rocket that the spacecraft had been attached to.
Russia’s robotic Progress 60 cargo vessel approaches the global Space Station on July 5, 2015.
Although that was SpaceX’s first failed mission to the space station, there have been other failures. Friday’s trouble-free launch of the M-28M was welcomed by both Russian and American space agencies.
The Cargo Module carries pressurized cargo which the crew transfers to the station through the docking hatch. They include food, water, oxygen, fuel and scientific apparatuses.
Before the launching, NASA said the station crew had enough supplies on board to continue normal operations through October.
Prior to the briefing, Nelson raised questions about a potential shortage of supplies on the space station and the reasons for unmanned Falcon 9’s explosion just over two minutes after blasting off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on Sunday. Crew members were already taking precautions before the Russian ISS rocket landed, conserving some of their food supplies. Also, in October 2014, another rocket built by SpaceX rival Orbital ATK had to be destroyed when a problem developed after launch, CNN reported.