An ISS cargo ship departed on Saturday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The spacecraft contains fuel, air, food, oxygen, and equipment and it is supposed to reach the International Space Station on Tuesday.
The ship contains 2.4 tons of supplies and instruments, including 50 kg of oxygen and air and 420 kg of water.
At this moment, there are six astronomers present on the International Space Station, all embarked in Expedition 48 which started on the 7th of July and will finish in September this year.
The current ISS crew contains two NASA flight engineers with Jeffrey Williams at the command of the station, three Russian flight engineers, and one Japanese astronomer.
The next transport is scheduled to be launched on the 20th of October, and it will also involve a Progress spacecraft.
The ISS cargo ship is a Progress MS-03 ship that was loaded on a Soyuz rocket. It has a height of 23.72 feet and a diameter of only 2.72 feet, which means that it can only transport 2,350 kg of cargo.
Its design resembles Soyuz, as it contains a pressurized forward module, a fuel compartment, and a propulsion module. The mass of the ISS cargo ship was reduced by making it unmanned and disposable, which means it does not need heat shields and life support systems.
The MS series has a new compartment that can be used to deploy satellites, enhanced endurance, improved protection telemetry, autonomous navigation, and new digital radio system.
The Russian spacecraft was originally used to supply Mir, the Soviet and Russian space station, and now it is being used to deliver cargo to the International Space Station.
Each year, three or four Progress spacecraft are sent to the International Space Station carrying supplies and tools. The cargo ship remains docked just until a replacement is delivered to the ISS. At that moment, the crew fills the device with waste, disconnects it and sends it into the atmosphere where it burns away.
Since 2015, Progress spacecraft had 140 flights out of which three had failed. The ship is dedicated to cargo deliveries only, and it is not intended to transport crew members.
The Progress ships are used to send supplies to the International Space Station as between February and July 2005 all the Space Shuttle fleet was grounded after the Columbia spacecraft disintegrated while reentering Earth’s atmosphere.
NASA is currently working on the Orion spacecraft that will replace the Space Shuttle. RKK Energia has developed Parom, a similar cargo ship, while the European Space Agency has its own supply freighter, the Automated Transfer Vehicle which was named “Jules Verne”. The Orion spacecraft uses the ESA model in its Service Modules.
Image Source: Wikipedia
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