MOSCOW, July 28 (Itar-Tass) - Russia’s Progress cargo spacecraft has been launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome on Sunday to the International Space Station (ISS).
“Exactly at the scheduled time, at 00:45 MSK, the Soyuz-U carrier rocket with the Progress M-20M cargo spacecraft, which carries to the orbiting outpost more than 2.5 tonnes of cargo, was launched from the 31th launch site,” the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roskosmos) told Itar-Tass.
The Progress M-20M ship is to dock to the accessory bay of the Pirs service in just 6 hours after the launch - at 06:27 MSK. Earlier, the flights of Progress cargo ships with cargoes to the ISS took a day.
“We have two technologies of docking control - in 6 and in 25 hours,” a Mission Control Centre (MCC) expert explained. According to him, experts have for “several years been engaged in the development of a new scheme, were testing it on Earth and discussing with cosmonauts.” If some minor errors occur during the docking, the Russian cosmonauts will try to “pull” the ship to the ISS using the remote piloting mode. If they fail, the spacecraft will have a two-day scheme flight, the expert said.
The 6-hour flight technology was first successfully tested last August with the Progress M-16M cargo ship, which this February was sunk in the Pacific Ocean.
The Progress M-20M cargo spacecraft carries more than 2.5 tonnes of cargo for the operation of the station and the crew, including fuel and equipment for the station, oxygen, water, clothing and food for the astronauts. The cargo spacecraft will also deliver to the ISS parcels and gifts for the crew from their families.
In addition to the standard rations the cosmonauts will receive from Earth a portion of fresh vegetables and fruits, as well as candies and other sweets from psychologists and their family members.
The ISS orbiting crew currently comprises three Russians - Pavel Vinogradov, Alexander Misurkin and Fyodor Yurchikhin, NASA astronauts Christopher Cassidy, Karen Nyberg and astronaut of the European Space Agency (ESA) Luca Parmitano.