A robotic Russian cargo ship arrived at the International Space Station Tuesday, capping off a busy week of comings and goings at the orbiting lab.
Russia's unmanned Progress 58 spacecraft docked to the Zvezda service module at 11:57 a.m. EST, delivering 3 tons of food, fuel, experimental hardware and other gear to the six crewmembers aboard the station.
Progress 58 had launched just six hours earlier, blasting off atop a Soyuz rocket from Baikonur Cosmodrome in the Central Asian nation of Kazakhstan at 6 a.m. EST (5 p.m. local time).
The Russian cargo ship's arrival comes just three days after Europe's last robotic freighter, the Automated Transfer Vehicle-5 (ATV-5) — named Georges Lemaitre after the 20th-century Belgian priest and astronomer — said farewell to the station, then burned up in Earth's atmosphere as planned on Sunday.
And SpaceX's unmanned Dragon capsule departed the station last Tuesday, wrapping up its cargo mission with a successful splashdown in the Pacific Ocean off Baja California. (Dragon is the only cargo ship currently operating that's designed to survive the trip back to Earth.)
Progress 58 will stay attached to the space station until August, NASA officials said. The cargo vessel will then be loaded up with trash and plunge to a fiery death in Earth's atmosphere.