Thursday, March 31, 2016

Progress heads for the International Space Station

Progress MS-2 lifts off the pad at Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. 
Photo Credit: NASA TV
A Soyuz rocket lofted a Russian cargo ship with 5,300 pounds of fuel, water and supplies bound for the International Space Station.

The craft, dubbed Progress MS-2, lifted off the pad at 10:44 p.m. local Kazakhstan time (16:23 GMT) at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Nearly nine minutes later, the spacecraft was in orbit gearing up for a two-day trek to the orbiting laboratory.

The capsule will automatically dock with the rear port of the Zvezda service module around 1:01 p.m. CST (18:01 GMT) on April 2. It is packed with 5,346 pounds of fuel, air, water and equipment to support the Expedition 47 crew.

Progress MS-2 will join two crewed Soyuz vehicles and another Progress attached to the Russian Orbital Segment of the ISS. Additionally, an Orbital ATK Cygnus recently berthed on the U.S. Segment. 

To make room for the new spacecraft, Progress M-29M was loaded with trash and undocked on Wednesday. It will remain in orbit until April 8 when it will be commanded to de-orbit over the South Pacific Ocean.

This is the second cargo ship in as many weeks to arrive at the orbiting outpost. The next cargo ship, a SpaceX Dragon, will launch on April 8 and berth with the ISS on April 10.

Video courtesy of NASA TV