ISS cargo resupply mission launches from Russia

The ISS crew is getting fresh supplies with a Russian Progress cargo ship launched into orbit Sunday night. The cargo ship is a Progress MS-16, and the mission is Progress 77. The mission is set to arrive at the ISS on Tuesday, February 16.

Progress 77 launched aboard a Soyuz rocket from Site 31 of the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 11:45 PM EST on February 15. Progress 77 has about 5424 pounds of cargo and supplies for the ISS crew on board. About 3086 pounds of the cargo is new research experiments and supplies such as food and clothing.

The supplies also include freshwater, nitrogen gas, and propellant for the Zvezda service module propulsion system. The capsule loaded with supplies was placed on the launchpad on Friday, February 12. Russia's Soyuz rocket is a 152-foot-tall three-stage launch vehicle. It launched on a northeasterly trajectory and jettisoned the four strap-on boosters about two minutes after liftoff.

The second stage of the rocket is powered by a single RD-108A engine designed to fire continuously for about three minutes before the third stage takes over. The third stage is powered by an RD-0110. Once the rocket is at the correct altitude, the nose farings were jettisoned to allow the Progress spacecraft to separate from the upper stage booster about nine minutes into the flight.

Progress 77 will dock with the Russian-built Pirs module at about 1:20 AM EST on Tuesday. Pirs is a docking port on the Zvezda service module that also doubles as an airlock for crewmembers to use when conducting Russia-led spacewalks. Progress 77 will remain attached to the ISS until its mission ends in July. The mission marks the final time Pirs will be used as it is scheduled to be removed when the spacecraft departs.