Friday, July 3, 2015

International Space Station Resupply Mission Reaches Orbit

BAIKONUR COSMODROME, Kazakhstan - Following the failed SpaceX resupply mission to the International Space Station, a Russian Soyuz rocket has successfully lifted a Progress M-28M cargo craft into orbit on Friday, July 3, 2015.

The 60th Progress mission launched at 12:55 a.m. EDT (10:55 p.m. local time in Baikonur) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan carrying more than 3,100 pounds of food and supplies for the International Space Station crew, 106 pounds of oxygen, 926 pounds of water and 1,940 pounds of propellant.

Less than 10 minutes after launch, the resupply ship reached preliminary orbit and deployed its solar arrays and navigational antennas as planned. The Russian cargo craft will make 34 orbits of Earth during the next two days before docking to the orbiting laboratory at 3:13 a.m. Sunday, July 5. 

Three International Space Station resupply missions have failed within a year: A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket exploded over Florida last week; a Russian Progress M-27M cargo craft went out of control and fell back to Earth in April; and an Antares rocket exploded last year in Virginia.

Following the string of failures, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said, "...the commercial cargo program was designed to accommodate loss of cargo vehicles. We will continue operation of the station in a safe and effective way as we continue to use it as our test bed for preparing for longer duration missions farther into the solar system..." 

The next resupply mission to the International Space Station is a Japanese HTV cargo craft that is scheduled to launch in August.

Image Credit: NASA TV