The ISS crew has finally received the long-awaited supplies after a Russian Soyuz cargo spaceship successfully docked the International Space Station this Sunday morning. It is the third time a space agency/private company tries to resupply the space station in the last eight months.
Last month, a SpaceX cargo mission failed when a Falcon 9 rocket burst in a plume of smoke. In May, Russian Progress 59 supply ship span out of control and fell back to Earth nine days after launching. So, the situation was close to getting critical as vital supplies of oxygen and food were needed on board of the ISS.
The unmanned Russian Progress 60 required two days to reach the space station and successfully end its resupply mission with the ISS. The Russian cargo craft carried nearly 2,000 pounds of fuel, about 100 pound of oxygen, nearly 1,000 pounds of water and over 3,000 pounds of scientific instruments, hardware and other goods.
The crew cheered at the cargo ship and tweeted that it felt like “Christmas in July” on board of the ISS, while a NASA astronaut said that third time was the charm.
The situation was steadily becoming critical in the last few months and the crew had to balance their water and food stock. NASA reassured the public that there were enough food and water supplies until October. Now, the crew will only have to be tight with water because during last month’s explosion of the SpaceX cargo ship a water filtration tool was also lost in the process.
Following a string of failures, everybody were worried that Progress 60 may not make it as well. The first failed attempt to resupply the orbital laboratory was in October when a Orbital ATK rocket exploded minutes after launch. Luckily, none of the cargo ships carried human crew, but the explosions led to hundreds of thousand dollar losses in food and other goods needed by the station.
So, although the Russian resupply mission had to put up with a lot of pressure, the Friday’s launch was absolutely perfect and in a couple of days the cargo spaceship was already docked with the ISS, according to the schedule.
In the meantime, SpaceX announced Sunday that the investigation into what caused Falcon 9 rocket sudden explosion was nearing its end. The company’s CEO Elon Musk said that Federal Aviation Administration would release “preliminary conclusions” this weekend.
This month, the Russian space agency plans to send three more astronauts to the ISS. So, let’s hope for the best.
Image Source: NASA