Russian technicians inspect the Progress MS-13 resupply craft before its encapsulation inside the payload fairing of a Soyuz-2.1a booster. Credit: Roscosmos
Fresh off a series of three complex spacewalks to repair a $2 billion cosmic ray detector, the International Space Station’s crew is set to receive two robotic resupply freighters in the next week after launches from Florida’s Space Coast and the steppes of Kazakhstan.
A SpaceX Dragon supply ship and Russian Progress cargo craft will deliver more than five tons of supplies, experiments and other equipment to the space station.
SpaceX’s cargo delivery mission will take off first, with liftoff on top of a Falcon 9 rocket scheduled for 12:51 p.m. EST (1751 GMT) Wednesday from Cape Canaveral’s Complex 40 launch pad. Russia’s Progress MS-13 resupply and refueling capsule is set for launch Friday from pad 31 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 4:34 a.m. EST (0934 GMT; 2:34 p.m. Baikonur time).
The automated Dragon cargo craft will carry more than 5,700 pounds (around 2.6 metric tons) of payloads when it takes off Wednesday, according to NASA. SpaceX plans to recover the Falcon 9’s first stage aboard a drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean northeast of Cape Canaveral.