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On This Day in Space! Jan. 20, 1978: 1st Progress cargo delivery ship launched

On Jan. 20, 1978, the Soviet space program launched the first ever Progress cargo ship on a mission to delivery supplies to the Salyut 6 space station. 

Since then, more than 150 Progress spacecrafts have launched cargo to crews aboard the International Space Station as well as earlier, smaller space stations built by Russia and the Soviet Union.  

A Russian Soyuz rocket launches the Progress 78 cargo resupply spacecraft to the International Space Station from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, on June 29, 2021 at 7:27 p.m. EDT (2327 GMT). (Image credit: NASA TV)

Progress 1 carried nearly 3,000 lbs. of food, water, scientific equipment and spare parts to the two-person crew aboard Salyut 6. The cosmonauts unloaded the cargo — then filled the spacecraft with trash and sent it off to burn up in Earth's atmosphere. 

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Hanneke Weitering

Hanneke Weitering is an editor at Space.com with 10 years of experience in science journalism. She has previously written for Scholastic Classroom Magazines, MedPage Today and The Joint Institute for Computational Sciences at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. After studying physics at the University of Tennessee in her hometown of Knoxville, she earned her graduate degree in Science, Health and Environmental Reporting (SHERP) from New York University. Hanneke joined the Space.com team in 2016 as a staff writer and producer, covering topics including spaceflight and astronomy. She currently lives in Seattle, home of the Space Needle, with her cat and two snakes. In her spare time Hanneke anjoys exploring the Rocky Mountains, basking in nature and looking for dark skies to gaze at the cosmos.