Russia on Thursday successfully launched its Soyuz rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to the International Space Station (ISS) just hours after US space agency NASA’s Antares rocket exploded soon after the launch.
Taking a special fast track route, the Russian Soyuz 2-1A rocket arrived at the space station six hours later and successfully docked Progress 57 module, which the rocket was carrying, at the designated Pirs docking bay which is orbiting the Earth. The scientists said that the Progress 57 vehicle will remain in the space connected with the international space station for six months.
The rocket is packed with three tons of food and fuel such as 1,300 kg of dry cargo, over 1100 kg propellents and 420 kg of water.
The crew at the space station will remove the fresh cargo from the vehicle and will load it with unwanted, used and waste equipments. Once the loading of unwanted items are completed, the vehicle will be detached from the space station and eventually return in the Earth’s atmosphere.
This is for the first time when Russia has used the Soyuz-2-1A rocket to launch the resupply vehicle to ISS. Earlier, the country used to send replacing vehicle via the Soyuz-U.
Earlier in the day, Nasa-contracted unmanned spacecraft that was carrying 2.5 tons of experimental materials and supplies erupted in flames after takeoff.
The Antares rocket, developed by the Orbital Sciences Corporation, was loaded with nearly 5,000 pounds of supplies and space experiments meant to resupplied to the ISS.