A few hours ago, the Progress MS-16 spacecraft blasted off atop a Soyuz-2.1a rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. After about nine minutes it successfully separated from the rocket’s last stage and was placed on its route. The cargo spacecraft began its resupply mission to the International Space Station also called Progress 77 or 77P. In this mission, the route used is the one that requires about two days.
The Progress MS-16 cargo spacecraft is carrying a total of about 2,460 kilograms (a bit more than 5,400 lbs) of various types of supply including food, water, air, oxygen, propellant and more such as a series of products for the International Space Station crew, various science experiments, tools and various hardware.
Since 2018, the Russian Progress space freighters have often been launched on an ultra-fast track for a journey that lasts just over three hours covering just 2 orbits. It requires a very precise series of maneuvers and above all the adjustment of the International Space Station’s orbit. That’s done particularly on the occasion of astronaut launches to minimize the time they spend in space. In space freighters’ case, a much longer journey is not a problem. Consequently, the Russian space agency Roscosmos opted for the use of the “classic” route which requires two days of travel for the Progress MS-16 cargo spacecraft’s mission in which it covers 33 orbits.
The Progress MS-16 cargo spacecraft is scheduled to reach the International Space Station on Wednesday, around 06.20 UTC. The Progress has an automated docking system, so it will reach the Pirs module on its own.