Russian cargo ship launches in pursuit of International Space Station – Spaceflight Now

The Soyuz-2.1a rocket takes off together with the Progress MS-19 spacecraft heading for the International Space Station. Author: Roscosmos

Russia’s Progress MS-19 spacecraft was launched from cold Kazakhstan on Monday night aboard the Soyuz rocket to begin a two-day chase of the International Space Station with more than 5,500 pounds of fuel, food, water and experiments.

The Soyuz-2.1a rocket took off at 23:25:40 EST on Monday (04:25:40 GMT on Tuesday) from the Zone 31 launch complex at Baikonur, where it was 9:25 local time, the temperature fluctuated about 15. degrees Fahrenheit (minus 9 degrees Celsius).

The gas-fired rocket launched the Progress MS-19 cargo plane into orbit in less than nine minutes. Four launch vehicles of the first stage of the Soyuz rocket were dropped after two minutes of mission, after which the aerodynamic nose cover of the machine separated, and the main stage was cut off and released at T + plus 4 minutes 47 seconds.

The third-stage engine completed the task of bringing the Progress MS-19 support ship into pre-orbit almost nine minutes after the start of the mission. The Progress spacecraft, the 80th Russian replenishment ship bound for the ISS, deployed solar panels and navigation antennas a few minutes later to set itself up to chase an international research lab.

A series of engine burns will culminate in the automated docking of an unmanned cargo carrier to the Poisk station with radar guidance in the Poisk compartment at 2:06 a.m. (7:06 p.m. GMT) on Thursday. He will stay there for more than a year.

Russian cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov and Peter Dubrov will stand at the station to manually control the cargo ship “Progress” if its autopilot system encounters problems during docking.

The mission, which launched on Sunday, marked the beginning of the first flight to the space station this year and the third launch of the Russian Soyuz rocket, which will begin in 2022.

Russian ground crews at Baikonur rolled the Soyuz rocket to the launch pad on Saturday in a horizontal railway car. Hydraulic lifts lifted the 15-story rocket vertically, and gantry levers revolved around the “Union” to give technicians access to the vehicle for final pre-flight training.

Russian officials met a few hours before takeoff and gave ground groups permission to load gas and liquid oxygen into the Soyuz rocket. An automated countdown sequencer sent commands for the launcher’s tightness in the final minutes before takeoff.

The launch was timed to the moment when the Earth’s rotation will bring the Baikonur Cosmodrome under the orbital path of the International Space Station.

The Russian space agency Roscosmos has stated that the Progress MS-19 spacecraft will deliver about 5,562 pounds (2,523 kilograms) to the station.

Russian ground crews have loaded 3,598 pounds (1,632 kilograms) of dry cargo into the airtight compartment of the Progress cargo ship, Roscosmos reports. The space agency said the mission has 950 pounds (431 kilograms) of fuel to refuel the Zvezda station engine, 926 pounds (420 kilograms) of fresh drinking water and 88 pounds (40 kilograms) of compressed gas to replenish the space station’s reserves. air breathing.

The Progress MS-19 is being prepared for encapsulation inside the bow cone of the Soyuz rocket at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Author: Roscosmos

The equipment that the Progress mission is transporting to the space station includes six Russian CubeSat student spacecraft, which will be deployed outside the outpost by Russian astronauts during a future spacewalk. The Progress MS-19 supply ship will also supply kits for an experiment to study how long spaceflight affects astronauts ’work, and cargo for research studies investigating the effects of bacteria on spacecraft designs.

The Progress MS-19 mission also has items for plant experiments and microbiology, as well as equipment for the production of pharmaceuticals under microgravity.

Russia’s Progress MS-19 is the first of two unmanned cargo ships to head to the International Space Station next week.

Teams NASA and Northrop Grumman in Virginia are preparing to launch the Cygnus cargo spacecraft on Saturday on a commercial Antares rocket. If this launch takes place in time, the Cygnus spacecraft is due to arrive at the station next Monday, February 21st.

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Follow Stephen Clark on Twitter: @ StephenClark1. Russian cargo ship launches in pursuit of International Space Station – Spaceflight Now

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