Russia's cargo craft blasts off to ISS (Lead)
Washington : Russia's Progress 71 cargo craft has successfully launched a Soyuz-FG rocket to the International Space Station (ISS), a first since the failure of the last manned mission on October 11, NASA said.
The unpiloted Russian Progress 71 cargo spacecraft was launched at 1.14 p.m. EST from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, the US space agency said in a statement on Friday.
The resupply ship reached preliminary orbit and deployed its solar arrays and navigational antennas as planned.
It carries almost three tonnes of food, fuel and supplies for the ISS crew.
It will make 34 orbits of Earth before docking to the orbiting laboratory at 2.30 p.m. on Sunday.
Progress 71 will remain docked at the ISS for more than four months before departing in March for its deorbit in Earth's atmosphere.
On Oct 11, the Soyuz MS-10 spacecraft launched with Expedition 57 crew members Nick Hague of NASA and Alexey Ovchinin of Roscosmos.
During the Soyuz spacecraft's climb to orbit, an anomaly occurred, resulting in an abort downrange. The crew was quickly recovered in good condition.
According to NASA, there was an "issue with the booster" and the crew returned to Earth in a ballistic descent mode", which is a sharper angle of descent compared to normal.
Roscosmos also completed an investigation into the loss of a Soyuz rocket in October, which led to a suspension of Russian rocket launches to the station.
One of the four first stage rocket engines abnormally separated and hit the second stage rocket that led to the loss of stabilization of the Soyuz on October 11, stated Roscosmos describing the cause for the anomaly caused.