The Progress 75 robotic vehicle docked at the orbiting laboratory at 1:12 a.m. EDT (0512 GMT) today (April 25), less than 3.5 hours after Russian Soyuz rocket launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
The rendezvous took place when the two craft flew about 260 miles (418 kilometers) above northwest China, NASA officials said.
Related: Progress spacecraft from Russia: ISS supply ship
Progress 75 is filled with almost 3 tonnes (2.7 metric tonnes) of food, propellant and other supplies for astronauts on board the orbiting laboratory, which currently has only three: Chris NASA Cassidy and cosmonauts Anatoli Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner.
But the ISS’s population will increase by two a month from now, if all goes according to plan. SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule launch scheduled for May 27 Demo-2, a test mission that will send NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the orbiting laboratory.
Demo-2 will be the first orbital crewed space flight to be launched from the United States since the withdrawal of NASA’s space shuttle fleet in July 2011. If the test flight goes well, SpaceX will be allowed to begin to fly operational crew missions to and from the ISS for NASA. , which Elon Musk’s company will make as part of a $ 2.6 billion deal signed with the space agency in 2014.
Progress will be at the ISS for Demo-2; the Russian freighter will not leave the orbiting laboratory until December, NASA officials said. This departure will mark the end of Progress 75, which will burn in the Earth’s atmosphere soon after.
Three other robotic spacecraft are currently carrying out cargo missions to the ISS. Two of them are disposable like the Progress: the H-II transfer vehicle in Japan and Cygnus, which is built by the Virginia-based company Northrop Grumman. The only reusable is SpaceX’s Dragon cargo ship, which ends its missions with ocean splashes assisted by parachute. (Northrop Grumman and SpaceX both have NASA ISS replenishment contracts.)
Mike Wall is the author of ” Over there“(Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), a book on the search for extraterrestrial life. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall. Follow us on twitter @Spacedotcom or Facebook.