The rocket successfully completed its journey on Sunday, reaching the global Space Station (ISS) at just after 7 a.m. UTC.
Today’s mission has gained more significance after two recent failures to resupply the ISS.
The success of the latest launch is essential for the station programme, which has relied on Russian spacecraft for ferrying crews after the grounding of the U.S. shuttle fleet.
The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon cargo spaceship dazzled in the moments after liftoff from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on June 28, 2015 but were soon doomed to a sudden catastrophic destruction barely two minutes later in the inset photo (left).
The shared sighs of relief and congratulatory high-fives were also a reminder that even with Russo-American relations at a post-cold-war low, Washington and Moscow are managing to set their differences to one side to cooperate in other areas.
The third failure occurred last October when Orbital ATK’s Antares rocket was destroyed when the launcher exploded.
“We have a lot of redundancy on board the space station”, said NASA astronaut Scott Kelly back in an April interview with Associated Press.
“The space station crew is fine on orbit”, NASA’s William Gerstenmaier said. That includes fuel, water, oxygen and food.
It was also lofting the first of two global Docking Adaptors (IDA) to the Station in preparation for future Commercial Crew Program (CCP) missions.
The Progress ship is delivering over three tons of food, fuel, oxygen, water and supplies.
The disaster happened thrice in the past year that involved a cargo ship en route to ISS.
The orbiting research complex has enough food to last into October. Last month, the Interfax news agency reported that the Russian space agency will only be using that Soyuz modification until experts fully understand the reason behind April’s failure and fix the flaw. Progress 58, which docked to the ISS in February, is to depart in early September so that it can be replaced by Progress 61 late in the month.
The next launch, which is scheduled for mid-August, will be Japan’s HTV launch.
The delivery of station’s “consumables” which are necessary for the astronauts to live would be greatly affected if further failure of rocket launch continue to happen.
This mission marks the 60th mission of the spacecraft to the worldwide Space Station and the 28th mission of the M-M specification of the vehicle.