Pair of Space Deliveries Racing Towards Station

Launch of SpaceX CRS-9

One cargo spacecraft begins its resupply mission to the International Space Station as another one prepares to dock tonight to the orbital laboratory.

Roscosmos, the Russian Federal Space Agency, launched its 64th Progress spacecraft to resupply the station Saturday afternoon from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The Progress is closing in on the space station today with more than three tons of food, fuel and supplies, and will dock to the Pirs docking compartment at 8:22 p.m. EDT tonight. NASA TV will cover the rendezvous and docking live beginning at 7:45 p.m.

SpaceX launched its Dragon space freighter early Monday from Florida atop a Falcon 9 rocket for a two-day delivery mission. Dragon is carrying nearly 5,000 pounds of science, supplies and hardware including the first of two international docking adapters. A pair of space experiments, among others, aboard Dragon include a DNA sequencing study and an investigation of the human heart and how it adapts to living in space.

Dragon will approach the station early Wednesday, when it will be captured by the Canadarm2 and installed to the Harmony module. Astronauts Jeff Williams and Kate Rubins will be inside the cupola operating the robotic controls for capture of the spacecraft. Mission controllers on the ground will then take over and guide Dragon to its port on the Earth-facing side of Harmony.

Launch of SpaceX CRS-9
Dragon launches from Florida on the SpaceX CRS-9 mission to resupply the International Space Station. Photo credit: NASA/Tony Gray

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