A robotic Russian supply ship delivered nearly 3 tons of cargo to the International Space Station on Wednesday, just hours after a commercial U.S. rocket exploded while attempting a similar mission.
The robotic Progress 57 spacecraft blasted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan atop a Russian Soyuz rocket at 3:09 a.m. ET to begin its space station mission. The spacecraft linked up with the orbiting lab six hours later after a trouble-free trip.
Russia's successful Progress resupply mission followed Tuesday's disappointing failure of a commercial Antares rocket. Built by the Virginia-based Orbital Sciences Corp., the Antares exploded about 10 seconds after lifting off from its launch pad at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. An investigation into the launch failure is ongoing.
The Antares was due to send a Cygnus cargo ship with about 5,000 pounds (2,200 kilograms) of supplies and hardware to the space station. The Cygnus and its payload were lost, but NASA officials said the space station crew was in no danger of running out of food, water or air. [See photos of the Antares rocket explosion]
NASA station program manager Mike Suffredini told reporters that the orbiting laboratory has enough supplies to sustain its crew through next March, even without Russia's Progress shipment or a delivery that California-based SpaceX is due to make in December.
— Tariq Malik, Space.com
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