Progress MS-16 freighter launched on two-day trek to space station
The next Russian cargo ship bound for the International Space Station, Progress MS-16, has launched from Kazakhstan with fuel and supplies.
Liftoff took place at 11:45 p.m. EST Feb. 14 (04:45 UTC Feb. 15) atop a Soyuz 2.1a rocket from Site 31 at Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Less than 10 minutes later, the autonomous Progress MS-16 was placed in orbit to begin its two-day trek to the ISS.
The launch came less than a week after another cargo ship, Progress MS-15, departed the outpost.
Progress MS-16 is carrying some 2,500 kilograms worth of cargo, propellant, air and water for the seven-person Expedition 64 crew currently aboard the ISS. It’s set to mate with the Pirs docking compartment at about 1:20 a.m. EST (06:20 UTC) Feb. 17 where it is expected to remain until July 2021.
Should the schedule hold, this cargo spacecraft is set to remove and de-orbit the Pirs docking compartment to clear the way for the Russian Nauka science module, which is slated to launch in July atop a Proton rocket.
Pirs’ departure would make it the first major ISS module to be retired, having been attached to the space station since September 2001.
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.