NASA TV confirmed that a Russian Soyuz rocket has successfully been blasted off on Friday to deliver a cargo ship full of food, water and equipment to the International Space Station after a string of failures. The Progress capsule launched from Kazakhstan and is expected to reach its destination on Sunday at 12.55am EDT. It is delivering 2,700 kg worth of supplies to the orbiting outpost.
NASA launch commentator Rob Navias gave the go ahead and said all the systems on the rocket were in excellent shape.
This successful progress capsule launch has come five days after the failure of SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, which exploded after its launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
The explosion destroyed 2,200 kg worth of food, science experiments and equipments. Also onboard was a docking system for two new space taxis underdevelopment. Researchers are still investigating what caused the explosion.
Previous failures have included an April 28th one, when the Russian Progress capsule failed to separate from the upper stage of the Soyuz launcher
In the October 28th failure Orbital ATK destroyed a $100 billion dollars worth research laboratory, which can fly 260 miles above Earth, when it exploded with the Cygnus cargo capsule, which was head for the space station. Even in this failure the case is still being investigating and a proper cause has not yet been determined, said Orbital spokesman Barry Beneski.
All these failures were a major disappointment for the still developing space transport industry, but experts are hopeful because none of the flaws were fundamental.
NASA Associate Administrator William Gerstenmaier told reporters that all three accidents had nothing in common they were three different rockets and its difficult to go fly in space.
NASA reported that this was a joint venture of 15 nations and is staffed with 6 astronauts and cosmonauts. Right now on board they have a supply of food and water that will last them 4 months.
NASA is hopeful to replenish the space stations supply with the launch of this Russian cargo ship and another launch planned in August of a Japanese HTV freighter.
The successful launch on Friday has cleared the way for three new crewmembers to be flown to the station some time later this month.
The three astronauts, Kjell Lindgren from NASA, Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko and Japan’s Kimiya Yui had been hopeful for a May 26 blastoff but when the engineers noticed the Soyuz rocket problem, Russia delayed the launch of the astronauts.
The booster that botched the April cargo ship is similar to one used to fly the Russian Soyuz crew capsules.