Russia launched a Progress MS-06 space freighter aboard a Soyuz rocket on Wednesday that was carrying nearly three tons of supplies for International Space Station astronauts and cosmonauts. Russia is the only other country, besides the United States, that resupplies the ISS on a regular basis.
Image Credit: NASA/YouTube
The rocket successfully took flight from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 5:20 A.M. EDT and made it into orbital altitude. It’s now expected to dock with the International Space Station this Friday at 7:42 A.M. EDT. During this time, astronauts and cosmonauts will begin unloading the supplies for use.
Among the supplies that were packaged inside the spacecraft were food and water, additional fuel for the ISS itself, and fresh tanks of oxygen so that ISS staff don’t run out of air to breathe.
A video recording of the unpoiloted rocket launch can be viewed below:
The capsule launched Wednesday will remain connected to the ISS to be used as a giant trash can through December. When it gets full, it will undock from the ISS and tumble back towards the Earth where it will undergo a controlled descent through the atmosphere and burn up over the Pacific Ocean before it even reaches the water.
The last Russian Progress MS-06 space freighter launch was conducted in February of this year. This was also the second launch of its kind since last December, which didn’t exactly go as planned; instead, the host rocket ended up tumbling back to Earth and exploding just after liftoff from the ground due to engine failure.
It’s worth noting that a used SpaceX Dragon capsule was also deployed for the first time just last month, which like the rocket that launched by Russia on Wednesday, brought a large sum of equipment to the ISS. Among its goodies were food, water, and new science experiments for NASA astronauts to conduct while existing in the strange physics of microgravity.
Like the failed Progress MS-06 rocket last year, American-based SpaceX Falcon 9 rockets have experienced their fair share of failures as well, which highlights the fact that rocket science is simply a difficult venture.
For now, it looks like the International Space Station crew have all the supplies they will need for at least a few more months before another supply mission will be necessary.