A robotic Russian cargo ship arrived at the International Space Station today (May 24) after a rapid launch to deliver more than two tons of new supplies to the astronauts aboard the orbiting laboratory.
The Progress 84 cargo ship docked at the space station at 12:19 p.m. EDT (1619 GMT) just over three hours after it was launched into orbit from Russia’s Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
“A perfect journey from launch to docking, delivering 2.7 tons of supplies to the International Space Station,” NASA spokesperson Rob Navias said during a live commentary.
Related: How Russia’s progressive spaceships work (infographic)
The cargo ship attached to the space station’s Russian-made Poisk module to complete its journey to the ISS will take less than 3.5 hours as the spacecraft orbits Earth.
Progress 84 is packed with 5,492 pounds (2,491 kilograms) of food, water, fuel, astronaut clothing and other supplies, Navias said before the launch during a live commentary. This cargo includes 3,399 pounds (1,542 kg) of dry cargo, 1,080 pounds (490 kg) of fuel, 926 pounds (420 kg) of water and 88 pounds (40 kg) of nitrogen.
The cargo ship also carries a variety of scientific equipment, including “a launch device with a nanosatellite intended for the Parus-MGTU experiment (conducted by NE Bauman Moscow State Technical University). It will be launched by astronauts to test the solar sail diffusion technology,” EverydayAstronaut.com wrote. .
Progress, which began flying in 1978, is one of three robotic spacecraft currently delivering cargo to the space station. The other two are private US vehicles – SpaceX’s Dragon capsule and Northop Grumman’s Cygnus spacecraft.
Progress and Cygnus are expendable, burning up in Earth’s atmosphere when their time in orbit runs out. However, the Dragon is reusable, and returns down in the soft ocean splashes with the help of a parachute.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect the successful launch and docking of Progress 84 on its Soyuz 2.1a rocket.
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