A Russian cargo spacecraft arrived at the International Space Station early Thursday morning (Feb. 17), delivering nearly 3 tons of supplies and equipment to the orbiting lab.
The Progress 80 freighter docked with the station's Poisk compartment at 2:03 a.m. EST (0703 GMT), ending a roughly two-day orbital chase.
Progress 80 launched atop a Russian Soyuz rocket from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan late Monday night (Feb. 14) and circled Earth 34 times before catching up with the space station 270 miles (434 kilometers) above the South Pacific.
Progress 80 was packed with 5,667 pounds (2,570 kilograms) of cargo, NASA officials said during a webcast of the freighter's arrival. The spacecraft delivered 948 pounds (430 kg) of propellant, 89 pounds (40 kg) of nitrogen, 926 pounds (420 kg) of water and 3,704 pounds (1,680 kg) of spare parts and other supplies.
Progress is one of a handful of robotic resupply spacecraft that currently deliver food, water, fuel and scientific hardware to the station and its rotating astronaut crews. The others are Northop Grumman's Cygnus vehicle, which will launch toward the orbital lab on its own mission this Saturday (Feb. 19), and SpaceX's Dragon capsule.
Only Dragon is reusable; Progress and Cygnus are designed to burn up in Earth's atmosphere when their orbital work is done.
Mike Wall is the author of "Out There (opens in new tab)" (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), a book about the search for alien life. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall (opens in new tab). Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom (opens in new tab) or on Facebook (opens in new tab).