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Russian Cargo Ship Makes Express Delivery to Space Station

After a quick trip, an unmanned Russian cargo spacecraft docked with the International Space Station on Thursday to deliver supplies to the crew members manning the space laboratory.

The Russian Progress 54 vehicle docked to the station as both flew 261 miles (420 kilometers) above the Atlantic Ocean at 5:22 p.m. ET. The spacecraft docked about six hours after launching atop Russia's Soyuz rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Robotic Progress ships have done these accelerated station runs since 2012. The supply ship is loaded down with 2.8 tons of spare parts and other cargo for the Expedition 38 crew currently on the orbiting outpost.

Station residents look forward to cargo ship arrivals "because typically there are some fresh fruits for the crew members onboard as well," NASA spokesman Kyle Herring said during a NASA TV broadcast of the docking. [See launch photos of Russia's Progress 54 cargo ship]

Progress 54 is now attached to the station's Earth-facing Pirs docking compartment. Another Progress ship — Progress 52 — was set loose from Pirs earlier this week, making room for the fresh resupply craft to come into port. After leaving the station, Progress spacecraft are designed to disintegrate in Earth's atmosphere.

— Miriam Kramer, Space.com

This is a condensed version of a report from Space.com. Read the full report. Follow Miriam Kramer on Twitter and Google+. Follow Space.com on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.