Spaceflight Insider

Progress MS-03 glides in for successful docking with ISS

Progress MS-01 manual test

An archive photo of a previous Progress MS docking. Photo Credit: Roscosmos

The first of two cargo ships to send supplies the International Space Station (ISS) in as many days arrived at the orbiting outpost when the Russian Progress MS-03 glided in to dock with the Pirs module. Contact between the ISS and Progress occurred at 7:20 p.m. CDT July 18 (00:20 GMT July 19).

Docking took place while the ISS and Progress were flying 250 miles (402 kilometers) over Chile near the city of Santiago.

July Visiting Vehicles

A graphic of the current vehicles docked with the International Space Station. Progress 63 and 64 are NASA’s designation for Progress MS-02 and MS-03, respectively. Image Credit: NASA

Launched two days ago, July 16, from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, the Progress carries with it 5,500 pounds (2,500 kilograms) of supplies, food, and equipment for the Expedition 48 crew. In particular, it will deliver 3,500 pounds (1,590 kilograms) of propellant, 103 pounds (47 kilograms) of compressed air, 926 pounds (420 kilograms) of water, as well as other life support consumables and scientific equipment. Also inside the spacecraft is some 825 pounds (374 kilograms) of food, clothing, medical supplies, and personal hygiene items.

The cargo ship joins three other visiting vehicles attached to the outpost. Progress MS-02, which launched in April, is docked to the aft end of the Zvezda module, and two Soyuz vessels—TMA-20M and MS-01—are docked to the Poisk and Rassvet modules, respectively.

Progress MS-03 will remain attached to the space station for about six months before undocking and commanded to de-orbit and burn up in the Earth’s atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean.

Joining the station in less than 36 hours will be SpaceX’s Dragon cargo ship. The CRS-9 mission launched early Monday morning out of Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Launch Complex 40. The capsule is expected to rendezvous with the orbiting laboratory on Wednesday morning around 6 a.m. CDT (11:00 GMT).

Once it gets close enough to the space station, the onboard crew will grab it with the robotic Canadarm2 and berth it to the Earth-facing port of the Harmony module. Dragon carries with it an additional 5,000 pounds (2,260 kilograms) of supplies, including a new docking adapter for the outpost.

The next flight to the ISS will be in late August when Orbital ATK‘s Cygnus cargo ship launches. It is scheduled to fly atop an upgraded Antares rocket from the mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport in Wallops Island, Virginia.

Video courtesy of NASA


Derek Richardson has a degree in mass media, with an emphasis in contemporary journalism, from Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas. While at Washburn, he was the managing editor of the student run newspaper, the Washburn Review. He also has a website about human spaceflight called Orbital Velocity. You can find him on twitter @TheSpaceWriter.

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