A Russian spaceship has set off from a launch pad in Kazakhstan on February 22, heading towards the International Space Station to deliver 6,000 pounds of supplies, water, and fuel. This spacecraft was launched just a few hours before a SpaceX cargo was scheduled to arrive the ISS. These back-to-back cargo missions appear after SpaceX’s Dragon and Russia’s Progress cargo ships were stranded to the ground for a few months due to the rocket mishap from 2016.
The unpiloted Progress MS-05 spacecraft set off at 0558:33 GMT from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The Russian spaceship flew off the launch pad which was covered in snow. The launch time temperature of the craft was nearly 15 degrees Fahrenheit, and it headed northeast to reach the International Space Station. Rob Navias, a NASA spokesperson, argued that the Soyuz spaceship blasted off without meeting any obstacles or issues.
The Soyuz-U spacecraft shed its four liquid-fueled engines at about two minutes into the flight, releasing its core stage as a third stage RD-0110 booster started to push the 16,000-pound Russian spaceship into orbit. The engine worked just as it was expected to work during its first launch since the failure experienced on December 1st last year.
That incident has destroyed the previous Progress spaceship just a few minutes after its liftoff. Russian specialists have used similar engines on the new Soyuz spacecraft after detecting some manufacturing flaws, including the use of alloys which were not suitable for spaceflight. Engineers were proud to see that in less than nine minutes the Progress craft was sent in orbit.
Reports coming from Russian mission control have suggested that the solar panels which generated power and the navigation antennas worked as planned. The launch which took place on February 22 was the last one of the Soyuz-U version. This type of rocket was known to be the most-flown one for the Russian space program. It was launched approximately eight hundred times carrying space station resupplies, cosmonaut crews and military spy satellites.
Now, the space program developed new versions of the Soyuz booster which have upgraded engines. The Progress MS-05 spaceship is bound to complete several orbit-adjustment burns during the next two days, preparing for a radar-guided docking to the ISS on February 24.
Image courtesy of: wikipedia