Thursday, July 24, 2014

ESA Astronaut Alexander Gerst greets Soyuz Progress M-24M cargo spacecraft

A still image taken June 13, 2014 from a NASA video shows US astronauts Reid Wiseman (L) and Steve Swanson (R) and German astronaut Alexander Gerst at the International Space Station.

Credit: NASA

A cargo craft successfully docked with the International Space Station, the Russian space agency Roskosmos said Thursday.

Meanwhile controllers encountered problems with a separate research satellite when its engines failed to fire, Russian news agencies reported.

The Russian Progress M-24M cargo craft automatically docked with the International Space Station at 0331 GMT with more than 2.3 tonnes of supplies after having lifted off from the Baikonur space centre in Kazakhstan six hours previously.

The ISS currently hosts a crew of three Russian cosmonauts, two US astronauts, and one German.

Separately, engineers at Progress were trying to save a research satellite after it failed to respond to commands, which has left it in an improper orbit, Russian news agencies said.

The Foton-M satellite was launched on July 19 on a two-month mission to study the effect of weightlessness on plants and insects.

The satellite carries containers with living organisms, including five geckos, fruit flies and fungi, which are supposed to be jettisoned after two months in orbit and land in Russia.

There is no update on the status of the living cargo, since the containers are not designed to broadcast any telemetry while in space.

The mishap is the latest in series of setbacks that has plagued Russia's once-famed space programme.

Containers with biological experiment equipment being loaded into the Foton-M satellite. 

Photo by the Institute for Biomedical Problems. 

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