Carrying almost three tons of food, fuel and supplies for the International Space Station crew, the automated Russian Progress 74 cargo spacecraft launched at 4:34 a.m. EST (2:34 p.m. Baikonur time) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
The resupply ship reached preliminary orbit and deployed its solar arrays and navigational antennas as planned.
It is now the second resupply spacecraft in space on its way to the orbiting laboratory. The SpaceX Dragon spacecraft that launched Friday on the company’s 19th commercial resupply services mission to the station is scheduled to arrive Sunday, Dec. 8. NASA TV coverage of Dragon’s rendezvous and capture will begin at 4 a.m.
After a three-day journey making 49 orbits of Earth, the Progress spacecraft is expected to dock to the Pirs compartment on the station’s Russian segment at 5:38 a.m. Monday, Dec. 9. NASA TV coverage of Progress rendezvous and docking will begin at 4:45 a.m.
Progress 74 will remain docked at the station for more than seven months, departing in July 2020 for its deorbit into the Earth’s atmosphere.