Russia launches cargo ship to the International Space Station

Russia's robotic Progress 80 cargo ship blasted off Monday (Feb. 14), carrying about 3 tons of supplies and equipment toward the orbiting lab.

A Russian Soyuz rocket launched Progress 80 from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 11:25 p.m. EST Monday (0425 GMT or 9:25 a.m. local time on Tuesday, Feb. 15). 

The freighter will orbit Earth more than 30 times before arriving at the International Space Station, a milestone that's scheduled to occur early Thursday (Feb. 17). NASA TV will air live coverage of the cargo ship's arrival beginning at 1:30 a.m. EST (0630 GMT) Thursday, and the Progress should link up with the Russian Poisk docking module at 2:06 a.m. EST (0806 GMT).

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

A Russian Soyuz rocket launches the Progress 80 cargo spacecraft toward the International Space Station from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Feb. 14, 2022. (Image credit: NASA/Roscosmos)

NASA stated that Progress 80 will carry about three tons of food, fuel and supplies to the International Space Station and that the cargo craft's departure date from the orbiting lab will be determined by Russia's federal space agency, Roscosmos, at a later date.

Roscosmos announced days ago that it plans to shorten Progress deliveries to a single-orbit, two-hour journey to the orbiting lab. Should early testing go to plan, implementation of that superfast route is expected in 2023.

Starting in 2018, many Progress vehicles were able to get to the station in just two orbits, or three hours. But the timing of launches and space station arrivals is subject to many factors, such as the activities of other spacecraft docked to the space station.

Progress is the main spacecraft by which Russia delivers supplies to its crews on the International Space Station, following the work of previous Progress variants that supplied earlier stations such as Salyut 6 and Mir. Progress was first developed in the 1970s under the now-defunct Soviet Union.

Editor's note: This story was updated at 11:47 p.m. EST on Feb. 14 with news of Progress 80's successful launch.

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Elizabeth Howell
Staff Writer, Spaceflight

Elizabeth Howell (she/her), Ph.D., is a staff writer in the spaceflight channel since 2022 covering diversity, education and gaming as well. She was contributing writer for for 10 years before joining full-time. Elizabeth's reporting includes multiple exclusives with the White House and Office of the Vice-President of the United States, an exclusive conversation with aspiring space tourist (and NSYNC bassist) Lance Bass, speaking several times with the International Space Station, witnessing five human spaceflight launches on two continents, flying parabolic, working inside a spacesuit, and participating in a simulated Mars mission. Her latest book, "Why Am I Taller?", is co-written with astronaut Dave Williams. Elizabeth holds a Ph.D. and M.Sc. in Space Studies from the University of North Dakota, a Bachelor of Journalism from Canada's Carleton University and a Bachelor of History from Canada's Athabasca University. Elizabeth is also a post-secondary instructor in communications and science at several institutions since 2015; her experience includes developing and teaching an astronomy course at Canada's Algonquin College (with Indigenous content as well) to more than 1,000 students since 2020. Elizabeth first got interested in space after watching the movie Apollo 13 in 1996, and still wants to be an astronaut someday. Mastodon: