Russian Spacecraft Launched Successfully
Yesterday, the Russian space program successfully launched its Progress spacecraft, which is set to dock with the International Space Station on Wednesday. This is the first successful launch of a Soyuz rocked since a failed launch in April led to speculation that NASA might send the current crew of the International Space Station home until another launch vehicle was developed.
The Russian space program claims to have found and fixed the flaws in the Soyuz rocket, and today’s launch is good evidence that they did so. The Progress spacecraft being delivered by the rocket is unmanned, and filled with supplies for the crew of the International Space Station. Another launch, scheduled for November 13, will bring three astronauts to the space station.
NASA issued the following statement on the launch from Bill Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for Human Exploration and Operations:
“We congratulate our Russian colleagues on Sunday’s successful launch of ISS Progress 45, and the spacecraft is on its way to the International Space Station. Pending the outcome of a series of flight readiness meetings in the coming weeks, this successful flight sets the stage for the next Soyuz launch, planned for mid-November. The December Soyuz mission will restore the space station crew size to six and continue normal crew rotations.”
Happy as NASA may be about the successful launch, I’m willing to wager that after the failure in April, there are a lot of people in Houston and Florida looking forward to the next American generation of manned spacecraft, whether that be from NASA or a private company like SpaceX.