Russian cargo ship arrives at space station after 2-day orbital trek

Russia's Progress cargo ship approaching the International Space Station.
Russia's Progress 83 cargo ship arriving at the International Space Station with three tons of food, fuels and supplies aboard. (Image credit: NASA)

A robotic Russian cargo craft arrived at the International Space Station (ISS) early Saturday morning (Feb. 11), delivering nearly three tons of food, fuel and scientific experiments.

The robotic Progress 83 freighter docked with the station's Zvezda service module at 3:45 a.m. EST (0849 GMT) on Saturday, ending a two-day orbital chase. 

Progress 83 launched atop a Soyuz rocket from the Russia-run Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan early Thursday morning (Feb. 9).

Related: How Russia's Progress spaceships work (infographic) 

Cosmonauts Dmitri Petelin and Sergey Prokopyev, who commands the current Expedition 68 mission aboard the International Space Station, monitored the approach of the autonomous freighter to the Russian segment of the orbiting lab.

After the spacecraft's docking, the space station crew had to wait for air pressure to equalize between the cargo craft and the station before opening the hatches and transferring the six-months worth of supplies, NASA officials wrote in an update on Friday (Feb. 10).

Petelin, Prokopyev and NASA astronaut Frank Rubio arrived at the space station in September 2022 aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft. That vehicle lost all of its coolant after an apparent micrometeoroid strike in December 2022, rendering it unfit to carry astronauts back to Earth except in case of emergency.

Russia's federal space agency Roscosmos will launch an uncrewed Soyuz toward the station on Feb. 19 to serve as the trio's new ride back to Earth. Their homecoming will be delayed considerably, however, from the original March date that was planned to the late September timeframe, NASA officials have said.

Petelin, Prokopyev and Rubio are currently sharing the station with four other astronauts, who are part of SpaceX's Crew-5 mission for NASA. Crew-5, which arrived at the station in early October 2022, consists of NASA's Nicole Mann and Josh Cassada, Japan's Koichi Wakata and Anna Kikina of Roscosmos.

The Crew-5 quartet are scheduled to return to Earth next month.

Mike Wall is the author of "Out There" (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), a book about the search for alien life. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or on Facebook.  

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Mike Wall
Senior Space Writer

Michael Wall is a Senior Space Writer with and joined the team in 2010. He primarily covers exoplanets, spaceflight and military space, but has been known to dabble in the space art beat. His book about the search for alien life, "Out There," was published on Nov. 13, 2018. Before becoming a science writer, Michael worked as a herpetologist and wildlife biologist. He has a Ph.D. in evolutionary biology from the University of Sydney, Australia, a bachelor's degree from the University of Arizona, and a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California, Santa Cruz. To find out what his latest project is, you can follow Michael on Twitter.