Russian Spacecraft Makes Cargo Delivery to ISS

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A robotic Russian cargo spacecraft made a delivery Oct. 31 to the international space station (ISS).

The unmanned Progress 49 spacecraft blasted off from Kazakhstan’s Baikonur Cosmodrome at 3:41 a.m. EDT, carrying nearly 3 tons of supplies for the orbiting laboratory. It arrived roughly six hours later, docking at 9:33 a.m. EDT, as the two vehicles were roughly 400 kilometers above Bogota, Colombia.

Progress 49 is toting 2.9 tons of supplies, including 930 kilograms of propellant, 420 kilograms of water, 28 kilograms of oxygen and 1,242 kilograms of spare parts, NASA officials said.

The launch came just three days after Space Exploration Technologies’ unmanned Dragon capsule left the station, wrapping up the first commercial cargo mission to the $100 billion orbiting complex. Dragon splashed down in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Baja California, Mexico, Oct. 28.

Dragon will make at least 11 more flights to the station under a $1.6 billion contract that Hawthorne, Calif.-based Space Exploration Technologies signed with NASA. Its next launch is currently scheduled for January, agency officials have said.

Dragon is unique in its ability to ferry hardware, supplies and scientific experiments both to and from the space station. All other cargo craft currently operating — including Russia’s Progress ships — carry supplies to the orbiting lab but burn up upon re-entering Earth’s atmosphere.