A little while ago the HTV-5 spacecraft blasted off atop a H-II rocket from the Tanegashima Space Center for a supply mission to the International Space Station. About fifteen minutes after launch, the cargo spacecraft regularly separated from the rocket’s last stage, entered a preliminary orbit and deployed its solar panels and navigation antennas.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) announced the conclusions of the investigation on the incident that on October 31, 2014 caused the destruction of Virgin Galactic’s spaceplane SpaceShipTwo with the consequent death of its co-pilot and the injuring of its commander. It turned out that the co-pilot unlocked the braking system too early and the SpaceShipTwo design included no security system to avoid the catastrophic consequences of that mistake.
A few hours ago the Soyuz TMA-17M spacecraft blasted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan and after almost exactly six hours reached the International Space Station carrying Kjell Lindgren, Oleg Kononenko and Kimiya Yui. The Soyuz traveled on the fast path normally used. There were a couple of little problems because one of the spacecraft’s solar panels didn’t deploy and after the arrival it took longer than expected to balance the air pressure with the Station but in the end everything went well.
A little while ago the Progress M-28M spacecraft docked to the International Space Station. The Russian space cargo ship, launched last Friday, is carrying food and water that ensure a reserve of about another month to the crew as well as scientific experiments, propellant and various hardware. For the nations cooperating in running the Station it’s certainly a relief after three mishaps in less than a year, so much as to be defined Christmas in July.
A few hours ago the Progress M-28M spacecraft blasted off on a Soyuz U rocket from the Baikonur base in Kazakhstan in a resupply mission to the International Space Station also referred to as Progress 60. Less than ten minutes after the launch, the cargo spaceship regularly separated from the rocket’s upper stage, entered a preliminary orbit and deployed its solar panels and navigation antennas. After recent failures in the launches of cargo spaceships, one hopes that this mission may once again be the routine we had become used to.