NASA has broadcasted chunks of a routine space mission earlier today, sending over three tons of food, fuel and other supplies to the residents of the International Space Station aboard Russian spacecraft Progress 75. While the mission was seemingly regular in nature for NASA, Roscosmos (the Russian space agency) and all other parties involved, it still makes for a highly interesting sight to follow for all space enthusiasts, and also shows the precise, minute calculations that are required for such missions. Amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, it also shows a sign of resilience as mankind battles on to maintain life as close to normal as possible.
LIFTOFF! The Russian Progress 75 has lifted off at 9:51 pm ET and is en route to the @Space_Station with almost three tons of food, fuel and supplies! Watch: https://t.co/rwkVjRB3DZ pic.twitter.com/t1Yo3JkSDA— NASA (@NASA) April 25, 2020
The live broadcasts of the Russian Progress 75 spacecraft and its cargo mission began at 9:51PM ET (April 24), or 7:21AM IST earlier today. Sitting atop a Soyuz rocket, the mission took off sharp on time, and took a total of 3 hours and 21 minutes for the entire journey, including lift-off. What's interesting is how the entire process was broadcasted live on Twitter, with a pre-launch programme detailing the objective of the mission, as well as visuals of the Roscosmos and NASA control rooms that clearly showed social distancing norms being followed. The consignment was sent for ISS commander and NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy, and cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner, who are the three residents of the ISS at the moment.
Docking confirmed! At 1:12am ET, the Russian Progress 75 cargo craft officially docked to the @Space_Station, bringing with it almost three tons of food, fuel and supplies! Watch: https://t.co/dVGwN9LdR7 pic.twitter.com/CDDhXALzDq— NASA (@NASA) April 25, 2020
As with every space mission, the docking procedure of a spacecraft with the ISS has always been a matter of ultimate precision and control, and space enthusiasts can now get a prolific view of the entire process. The broadcasted also showcased the journey between the Earth's atmospheric layers and showed a full breakdown of the process that is followed for every routine space mission undertaken by the control stations on Earth.
While regular missions are deemed as routine checks on our platform in space, NASA is taking on a host of more exciting missions, including space telescopes that are expected to become functional by next year. NASA is also gearing up for more Mars missions, and readying its technical preparations for the upcoming Artemis missions later in the decade. Going forward, it remains to be seen how the Covid-19 pandemic affects future missions by NASA, Roscosmos, ESA, ISRO and the likes.