Progress MS-05 cargo freighter pulls into port at ISS
On Feb. 24, 2017, the uncrewed Russian Progress MS-05 resupply spacecraft docked with the International Space Station (ISS). The automated link-up with the Pirs docking compartment took place at 3:30 a.m. EST (08:30 GMT) while flying over the south Pacific Ocean.
The Progress docking probe then retracted to pull the cargo ship in closer to allow for the hooks between the two spacecraft to latch. That hard mate took place at 3:36 a.m. EST (08:36 GMT). Leak checks will occur over the next few hours before the crew opens the hatch.
Launched on Feb. 22, 2017, from Site 1/5 at Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, Progress MS-05, also called Progress 66, is carrying about 5,400 pounds (2,450 kilograms) of supplies, consumables, and propellant for the Expedition 50 crew.
It will remain attached to the orbiting laboratory until June. In the meantime, its contents will be unloaded and then reloaded with trash and other unneeded equipment. Once the freighter undocks, it will be commanded to deorbit over the southern Pacific Ocean.
Progress MS-05’s Friday-morning docking came less than 24 hours after SpaceX’s CRS-10 Dragon capsule was captured and berthed to the U.S. side of the ISS. There are now four vehicles attached to the outpost. The other two are the crewed Soyuz MS-02 and MS-03.
This was the first of any Russian spacecraft to dock with the ISS since the ill-fated Progress MS-04 launch. On that flight, a malfunction in the Soyuz-U carrier rocket’s second stage prevented the vehicle from reaching orbit.
This was the 157th Progress spacecraft to launch since the cargo freighter began flying in 1978. It is also the 68th to service the ISS.
The next cargo run to the space station is expected to be the OA-7 Cygnus spacecraft. It is scheduled to launch on March 19, 2017, atop an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
Derek Richardson is a student studying mass media with an emphasis in contemporary journalism at Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas. He is currently the managing editor of the student run newspaper, the Washburn Review. He also writes a blog, called Orbital Velocity, about the space station. His passion for space ignited when he watched space shuttle Discovery leap to space on Oct. 29, 1998. He saw his first in-person launch on July 8, 2011 when the space shuttle launched for the final time. Today, this fervor has accelerated toward orbit and shows no signs of slowing down. After dabbling in math and engineering courses in college, he soon realized that his true calling was communicating to others about space exploration and spreading that passion.