Crew says it "feels like Christmas in July"
While such missions are fairly routine, past spacecraft resupply attempts have failed
After a series of failed resupply missions, the International Space Station finally got assorted goodies for its crew Sunday when a Russian spacecraft filled with supplies docked at the station.
The unmanned rocket blasted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Friday. It carried 6,100 pounds of food, fuel, water, oxygen and other supplies.
“Crew reports, ‘feels like Christmas in July,’” the International Space Station tweeted.
Missions like this can be fairly routine, but three spacecraft carrying tons of supplies to the space station have been lost since last October:
In late June, an unmanned SpaceX rocket carrying a supply capsule exploded shortly after liftoff from Cape Canaveral, Florida.
It was carrying a spacesuit, water filtration equipment, crew provisions, food, water and student experiments. It was unclear what caused the rocket to fail, but a Federal Aviation Administration investigation is underway.
Three space station astronauts – Cmdr. Gennady Padalka and Mikhail Kornienko of Russia and NASA’s Scott Kelly – had been awaiting SpaceX’s shipment.
In October 2014 an Orbital Space Sciences Corporation Antares rocket had to be destroyed when a problem developed after launch. It was carrying crew provisions, experiments and equipment.
Crew awaiting supplies
NASA says the crew on the space station has enough supplies to last until October, even without the gear on the latest rocket.
“The space station crew is fine on orbit,” Gerstenmaier said. “They’ve done a tremendous job of balancing all the consumables on orbit. We’re in good shape from a food standpoint.”
He said the crew is in no danger but will need to “watch the water levels.” One of the most important items lost in the SpaceX explosion was a piece of equipment that filters water.
“Even without processed water, we have enough water supplies on orbit until late 2015,” NASA spokeswoman Stephanie Schierholz told CNN in an email.
Kelly and Kornienko are taking part in what NASA calls “The One-Year Crew.” They’re living on the space station about a year to explore the effects of long-term space flight on the human body.
Three more crew members are scheduled to go to the space station on a Russian spacecraft later in July: Oleg Kononenko, Kjell Lindgren and Kimiya Yui.
More about the space station:
The station orbits about 248 miles (400 kilometers) above Earth. It circles the planet every 90 minutes.
NASA says more than 200 people from 15 countries have visited the station since November 2000.