Progress MS-07 freighter docks with International Space Station
After spending two days catching up with the International Space Station, an automated Russian cargo freighter rendezvoused and docked with the outpost to supply the Expedition 53 crew with food and supplies.
Progress MS-07 docked with the Pirs module on the Russian Orbital Segment of the space station. Contact came at 7:04 a.m. EDT (11:04 GMT) Oct. 16, 2017. Once hatches between the two spacecraft are open, the crew will begin to transfer the pressurized cargo into the outpost.
The automated spacecraft has aboard about 2.9 tons (2.7 metric tons) of supplies, including 1,940 pounds (880 kilograms) of propellant, 51 pounds (23 kilograms) of oxygen, 926 pounds (420 kilograms) of water, and 2,976 pounds (1,350 kilograms) of food and other equipment for the six-person crew.
Once the cargo is transferred out, the crew will begin the process of loading the spacecraft with trash and unneeded equipment. The vehicle will remain attached to the outpost for more than six months before being undocked and commanded to enter Earth’s atmosphere for a destructive reentry.
While the spacecraft arrived at the outpost within 34 orbits after launching from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, this cargo run was originally supposed to try out a new 2-orbit rendezvous profile to arrive only 3.5 hours after liftoff. However, the first launch attempt of the Soyuz 2.1a carrier rocket, which occurred on Oct. 12, 2107, was scrubbed within the last minute of the countdown due to an undisclosed issue. Additionally, the alignment of the space station on the Oct. 14, 2017, launch was not favorable for a fast-rendezvous technique.
The Russian space agency’s next potential attempt for this 3.5-hour rendezvous profile will come in February 2018 when its next cargo spacecraft, Progress MS-08, launches from Kazakhstan.
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.