Soyuz Express Delivery Service!   Leave a comment

A Russian Soyuz rocket launched an unmanned resupply ship to the International Space Station on July 27 to make an express delivery to the orbiting outpost. The vehicle will be delivering food, supplies and the last-minute addition of a repair kit for a U.S. spacesuit that malfunctioned during a spacewalk last week.

The robotic Progress 52 spacecraft and its Soyuz rocket lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

The cargo ship is loaded with food, fuel, supplies and science experiment equipment for the six-person crew of the station’s Expedition 36 mission.Among its cargo is a set of tools intended to help the astronauts investigate and patch up the spacesuit that malfunctioned during a July 16 spacewalk outside the orbiting laboratory.

That spacewalk was terminated early after just 92 minutes when water began to leak into the helmet of spacewalker Luca Parmitano, an Italian astronaut with the European Space Agency. Parmitano and his fellow spacewalker Chris Cassidy of NASA aborted the excursion, which was intended to perform maintenance work to prepare the space station for the arrival of a new Russian module later this year.

Progress 52’s express trip will bring it to the space in station in just six hours, docking after only four orbits of the planet — a shorter journey that’s been adopted recently to save vehicles time on a trip that used to take multiple days.

The space station is about the size of a five bedroom house with the wingspan of a football field. The $100 billion facility, built by five space agencies representing 15 countries, has been staffed continuously with rotating crews of astronauts since 2000.

The astronauts currently there include NASA’s Karen Nyberg and Chris Cassidy; the European Space Agency’s Luca Parmitano; and Russian’s Fyodor Yurchikhin, Pavel Vinogradov and Alexander Misurkin.

 

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