An unmanned Russian cargo ship thrust triumphantly with a load of stocks for the International Space Station (ISS). The Progress MS-16 cargo ship launched off as programmed at 9:45 am local time (9:15 am IST) from the Russia-leased Baikonur launch means in Kazakhstan and entered a chosen orbit en route to the station.
The station’s team led the ship to moorland at the station in manual mode at 0627 GMT (local time) following a last-minute glitch in the automated docking method. The space station is presently run by NASA”s Kate Rubins, Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, and Shannon Walker; Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Soichi Noguchi; and Russian Space Agency Roscosmos” Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov.
In November last year, SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule, dubbed Resilience by its team of three Americans and one Japanese astronaut, landed with the ISS 27 hours after thrusting atop a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida, US. The space station will be their place for the next six months. After that, another set of astronauts on a Crew Dragon capsule will substitute them. That revolution will remain until Boeing joins the program with its private spacecraft late next year. The Resilience crew holds Crew Dragon commander Mike Hopkins and two fellow NASA astronauts: mission pilot Victor Glover and physicist Shannon Walker. They are joined by Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi, delivering his third trip to space before flying on the US shuttle in 2005 and Soyuz in 2009. Another US astronaut and two Russian cosmonauts are aboard the space station from an earlier mission.
“Welcome to the ISS. We can’t wait to have you on board,” said Kate Rubins, a US astronaut already on the space station. Before acquiring its flight certification from NASA last week, SpaceX’s Crew Dragon had been in progress for approximately a decade under a public-private NASA program started in 2011 to revive the agency’s human spaceflight capacity.