Russian Cargo Ship Docks at Space Station to Cap Back-to-Back Arrivals

A robotic Progress cargo ship docked at the International Space Station early Monday (Dec. 9), just one day after the arrival of a U.S. Dragon supply ship built by SpaceX.

The Russian-built Progress 74 spacecraft linked up with the space station’s Pirs docking compartment at 5:35 a.m. EST (1035 GMT) to deliver 2.7 tons of fresh supplies for the outpost’s six-person Expedition 61 crew. The two spacecraft were sailing 260 miles (418 kilometers) above the Yellow Sea, east of Shanghai, when they docked, NASA officials said. 

Russian cosmonauts Alexander Skvortskov and Oleg Skripochka, both of Roscosmos, watched over Progress 74’s flawless automated docking today. The cargo ship launched toward the station Friday (Dec. 6) on a Soyuz rocket that lifted off from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. 

Related: Space Station’s Robotic Cargo Ship Fleet (A Photo Guide)

Progress 74 is the second spacecraft to arrive at the space station in as many days.

Yesterday, an uncrewed SpaceX Dragon cargo ship arrived at the station to deliver more than 2.5 tons of supplies and science gear to the station. That mission launched on Thursday (Dec. 5) from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

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The Russian Progress 74 cargo ship is seen moments before docking at the International Space Station on Dec. 9, 2019 to deliver more than 2.7 tons of supplies for the outpost’s Expedition 61 crew. (Image credit: NASA TV)

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Here’s a stunning view of Progress 74 on approach to the space station with Earth as a backdrop. (Image credit: NASA TV)

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A Russian Soyuz rocket launches a robotic Progress 74 cargo spacecraft toward the International Space Station from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Dec. 6, 2019. (Image credit: RSC Energia)

A third cargo ship, a U.S. Cygnus spacecraft built by Northrop Grumman, is also docked at the space station (it arrived in early November), as well as two different Soyuz crew capsules for the six Expedition 61 crew members to use when they leave the International Space Station for the return to Earth.

Progress 74 will remain docked to the space station until July 2020, when it will be packed full of trash and unneeded items and intentionally commanded to burn up in Earth’s atmosphere.

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