A big part of running the International Space Station (ISS) is delivery equipment. Anytime repairs are needed or new developments are underway, deliveries must be made. This is often done by unmanned space craft. There is a significant amount of coordination involved in sending these ships and docking them safely on the ISS. The most recent supply load was sent from Russia.
Roscosmos is the name of the Russian space company responsible for the delivery. Inhabitants of the ISS received food, (2.7 metric tons) tools, and other needed items. Research tools are often sent as needed, as storage space is limited. Recent cargo included an older model of a robotic arm for astronauts to install on the ISS. Progress 69 is planned to remain at the ISS for six months. During this time, astronauts plan to fill it with trash and items they no longer need on the station. Progress 69 is then scheduled to be released for destruction. The goal is for it to burn in the earth’s atmosphere.
The Tuesday launch from Baikonur, Kazakhstan was meant to take place on Sunday. Complications, however, caused a delay. The original plan included a new procedure that would deliver the supplies in a four hour time frame. The Russian company made the decision to revert to standard delivery methods after the glitch occurred. The ISS moved from the necessary position for the short delivery during the delay. Traditional docking takes place two days after launch. The Progress 69 docked successfully at the Zvezda module at 5:38 a.m. EST.
The International Space Station receives everything it needs from cargo ships sent on a regular basis. These ships are sent unmanned and are not expected to return intact. This disposable delivery system efficiently rids the station of debris while also supplying basic needs.