Russian Cargo Ship Arrives, SpaceX Dragon Due Next Sunday

International Space Station Configuration
Saturday’s arrival of the Progress 63 spacecraft marks five spacecraft parked at the Interntional Space Station. Credit: NASA TV

The Progress 63 cargo spacecraft docked successfully to the rear port of the Zvezda Service Module on the International Space Station at 1:58 p.m. EDT. The Kurs automated docking system enabled a smooth rendezvous as the cargo resupply craft and the International Space Station flew about 250 miles above Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan.

Progress 63 arrived with more than three tons of food, fuel and supplies for the space station crew, after its launch Thursday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan

The docking of the Progress 63 vehicle marked the second cargo ship in as many weeks to arrive at the station. Up next is the scheduled launch of the SpaceX Dragon cargo resupply vehicle on April 8 from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. The Dragon’s arrival at the complex on April 10 will be the third resupply vehicle for the station in three weeks, resulting in some 12 tons of cargo for the station’s residents from Progress, Dragon and the Orbital ATK Cygnus ship, which arrived at the station on March 26.

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Crew Ready for Pair of Space Shipments from Russia and U.S.

Cygnus Spacecraft Arrives at Station
The Cygnus cargo spacecraft is seen after it arrived at the space station and was captured by the Canadarm2 robotic arm March 28.

The Expedition 47 crew will receive a space delivery from Russia this weekend. SpaceX is counting down to the launch of another space shipment on its Dragon space freighter scheduled for April 8 from Florida.

Onboard the International Space Station, the crew checked out U.S. spacesuits and advanced science hardware. The station residents also explored life science and human research to benefit life on Earth and crews in space.

Commander Tim Kopra scrubbed cooling loops in U.S. spacesuits and installed new gear inside the Combustion Integrated Rack research facility. NASA astronaut Jeff Williams set up equipment for an experiment that is researching new exercise techniques for living in space. British astronaut Tim Peake swapped hard drives in a laptop computer that is recording data collected for a dark matter detection experiment.

Russia’s newest cargo craft, the Progress 63, is on its way to the station carrying over three tons of food, fuel and supplies for the crew and will dock Saturday at 2 p.m. EDT/6 p.m. UTC. The following week, another delivery from the United States will liftoff aboard the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, carrying more science and gear inside the Dragon cargo craft. Both missions will be covered live on NASA TV.