An unpiloted Russian cargo ship carrying nearly three tons of supplies for the Expedition 36 crew docked to the International Space Station less than six hours after launch Saturday.
The ISS Progress 52 resupply ship docked with the station’s Pirs docking compartment at 10:26 p.m. EDT, delivering 1,212 pounds of propellant, 42 pounds of oxygen, 62 pounds of air, 926 pounds of water and 3,395 pounds of spare parts, maintenance equipment and experiment hardware. Included in the cargo are tools identified for possible repairs to the U.S. spacesuits on the station. At the time of docking Progress 52 and the station were flying 260 miles over the Pacific Ocean approaching the west coast of South America.
The space freighter launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 4:45 p.m. EDT (2:45 a.m. Sunday Kazakhstan time) on an accelerated, four-orbit journey to rendezvous with the station. At the time of launch, the station was flying 260 miles over southern Russia near the border between Kazakhstan and Mongolia.
The docking port on Pirs was previously occupied by the ISS Progress 50 cargo craft, which departed Thursday after spending five months at the station.
The crew will conduct a series of leak checks at the Pirs docking interface before opening the Progress hatch to begin the long process of unloading the cargo.
Once emptied of its cargo, Progress 52 will be filled with trash and station discards and then undocked later this year for a destructive re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere.