An unmanned Russian cargo ship successfully docked with the global Space Station (ISS) yesterday following a string of failed attempts to resupply the orbital laboratory.
The ship is carrying more than 2,300kg of oxygen, fuel, food, and scientific equipment, as well as personal packages for the global crew of three. The cargo ship, which is carrying more than 6 tons of supplies, has now reached its destination and touched down at the worldwide Space Station.
This had been the seventh re-supply mission of SpaceX under its re-supply contract with NASA, all previous missions were successful but this seventh mission exploded minutes after launching. Astronaut Scott Kelly, who is on board for a one year mission in space, was very relieved that the Progress cargo arrived safely. It had crew clothing, spacewalk hardware, propellant, oxygen, water, spare parts, supplies and experiments.
While cosmonaut Gennady Padalka replied from inside the station’s Zvezda command module, he said, we congratulate you as well. Investigators later traced the cause to an issue with the third stage of the Russian Soyuz rocket that lofted the freighter.
“The space station crew is fine on orbit”, NASA’s William Gerstenmaier said. “We’re in good shape from a food standpoint”.
Russian officials decided to move up the launch by about a month from its originally planned launch date in August in order to restock the station crew with critically needed supplies as soon as practical. One of the most important items lost in the SpaceX explosion was a piece of equipment that filters water. They’re living on the space station for about a year to explore the effects of long-term space flight on the human body.
These three failures occurred in the last eight months for the space station suppliers.
“It doesn’t get much better than that”, said NASA TV commentator Rob Navias.
The unpiloted spacecraft’s docking mechanism engaged its counterpart in the station’s Earth-facing Pirs compartment at 3:11 a.m. EDT (GMT-4), this was two days after launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
The latest rocket is expected to dock with the space station Sunday at 3:13 a.m. ET.