Fresh supplies that come our way! This Russian cargo ship Progress has just been launched from the Baikonur cosmodrome. It is also a test flight for a new optimized launch and coupling profile of 3 hours. Fingers crossed! #DareToExplore pic.twitter.com/MptMmMqO6yApril 4, 2019
Supplies on the road: Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques took this zigzag photo of a Russian cargo ship from the International Space Station this morning (April 4).
The space station went through the launch site of the Baikonur Cosmodrome 38 seconds after a Soyuz rocket launched the Progress 72 spacecraft into orbit, according to NASA spokesman Rob Navias, who gave Saint-Jacques a first glimpse of his Progress spaceship.
And Saint-Jacques and its five crew members did not have to wait long: the Progress 72 spacecraft was the second cargo launch for a special ultra-fast delivery, with its cargo arriving at the station after only two orbits, or 3.5 hours after takeoff.
Related: How Russia's progressive cargo ships work (infographic)
Progress cargo launches and Soyuz launches with crew may take up to two days to reach the station; his previous "fast track" would arrive in six hours, with four terrestrial orbits. The first encounter of two orbits of Roscosmos occurred in July 2018, with the launch of Progress 70.
Today's spacecraft carries around 3.7 tons of supplies for the crew of the space station, including 104 pounds. (47 kilograms) of oxygen and air; 926 lbs. (420 kg) of water; 3,117 lbs. (1,413 kg) of spare parts and other gears; and 3,375 pounds. (1,530 kg) of propellant.
The ship was docked to the station at 10:25 a.m. EDT (1425 GMT), and will remain at the station for approximately 3 months. It announces a busy month for Saint-Jacques and his crewmates: NASA astronauts Anne McClain, Christina Koch and Nick Hague, as well as Russian cosmonauts Oleg Kononenko and Alexey Ovchinin.
The cargo ship carries extra supplies for a spacewalk on April 8, currently scheduled for Saint-Jacques and McClain, and the crew will welcome a Northrop Grumman Cygnus spacecraft and a SpaceX Dragon spaceship full of cargo at the end of this month.