Russian cargo ship Progress 71 approaches the International Space Station on November 18, 2018 in this view from the video camera at the station. Ship supply robots send 2.8 tons of supply to the station.
Credit: NASA TV
An uncontrolled Russian cargo ship linked to the International Space Station on Sunday (18/11), to send nearly 3 tons of supplies to the orbiting lab.
The resupply ship, called Progress 71, docked at the space station at 2:28. EST (1928 GMT) when the two spacecraft sailed 252 miles (405 kilometers) above Algeria. Progress 71 was launched into orbit Friday (November 16) from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
"Travel textbooks for Progress," NASA spokesman Rob Navias said during live comments. [The Space Station’s Robotic Cargo Ship Fleet in Pictures]
Russian cosmonaut Sergey Prokopyev, a 57th expedition flight engineer at the station, carefully watched the arrival of Progress 71, ready to take the remote control if needed. But the cargo ship appeared flawless, self parking on the back end of the Zvezda service station station made in Russia.
Progress 71 sent 5,654 pounds (2,564 kilograms) of food, fuel, and other supplies to the 57 station Expedition crew. The distance includes: 2,866 pounds (1,300 kg) of dry cargo such as food and experimental equipment; 1,653 pounds (750 kg) of propellant; 970 pounds (440 kg) of water; 122.2 pounds (55 kg) of oxygen; and 53 pounds (24 kg) of air.
The launch of Progress 71, which was lifted on the Soyuz FG booster, set the stage for the first launch of a new crew to the station since the October 11 failure of a similar rocket forced aircraft abortion and emergency landing for American astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin. The two men were not injured and the Russian space agency Roscosmos tracked the wrong sensor failure on one of the rocket boosters.
With the successful launch of Progress 71, Roscosmos officials are now convinced that the Soyuz FG amplifier is once again ready to carry human crews. Upcoming flights, set for December 3, will bring three new crew to the station: America Anne McClain, Russia Oleg Kononenko and Canada David Saint-Jacques. The trio to join three other people is still on board (German Alexander Gerst, American Serena Auńon-Chancellor and Prokopyev).
Progress 71 's docking comes one day in front of another cargo ship, the uncontrolled Cygnus spacecraft, which will arrive at the station early Monday (November 19) to send around 7,400 pounds (3,357 kg) of supplies. A Northrop Grumman Antares rocket launched Cygnus Saturday morning (November 17) from a pad at NASA's Wallops Aircraft Facility on Wallops Island, Virginia.
You can watch Cygnus arrive at the station directly here, belonging to NASA TV. NASA's webcast will begin at 4 am EST (0900 GMT), with astronauts expected to capture Cygnus by 5:20 am EST (1020 GMT).