The Progress is a NASA project that is an automated supply machine. The version of the Progress which is unpiloted is what they use to bring fuel and supplies to the International Space Station. Another purpose of the Progress is to help the Station raise its altitude.
Last February, the ISS Progress 50, an unpiloted cargo craft have arrived and docked in the International Space Station to bring supplies. After spending five months being docked on Pirs, the ISS Progress 50 cargo craft departed on Thursday with the station’s trash and station discards to go back to earth. The cargo craft will be replaced by ISS Progress 52 cargo craft which launched today from the Baikonur Cosmodrome at 4:45 p.m. EDT in Kazakhstan. During the launch, the station is reported to be flying about 260 miles above Southern Russia, near the border between Mongolia and Kazakhstan, waiting for the docking. During the time of the docking of Progress 52, the station and the cargo craft were flying in about 260 miles above the Pacific Ocean, nearly approaching South America West Coast.
The unpiloted ISS Progress 52 cargo craft’s purpose is to send supplies of almost three tons to the six crew members that are currently in the International Space Station; it was loaded with 42 lbs. of oxygen, 1212 lbs. of propellant, 62 lbs. of air, 3395 lbs. of spare parts, 926 lbs. of water, experiment hardware and maintenance equipment. Tools for repairing the US space suits on the station are also included in the cargo craft. The cargo craft was said to have arrived in the station less than 6 hours after its launch here on earth last Saturday, specifically in Kazakhstan. It was reported that the spacecraft will orbit the earth four times before reaching the station and docking.
After arriving at the station, the crew will then have to conduct a series of tests and leak checks on ISS Progress cargo craft at the Pirs docking interface. After that routine, that is the time they can open the Progress hatch and then they will begin the long process of unloading the supplies. When the process of unloading is finished, the empty Progress 52 will then be filled with the station’s trash and discards, which will be undocked late this year to be returned back to earth and to be replaced by yet another supply cargo craft.
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