A robotic Russian cargo spacecraft will arrive at the International Space Station (ISS) late tonight (Aug. 24), and you can watch the action live.
The Progress 85 vehicle, which launched atop a Soyuz rocket on Tuesday (Aug. 22), is scheduled to arrive at the orbiting lab tonight at 11:50 p.m. EDT (0350 GMT on Aug. 25).
You can watch the rendezvous and docking here at Space.com, courtesy of NASA, or directly via the space agency. Coverage will begin at 11 p.m. EDT (0300 GMT on Aug. 25).
Progress 85 is carrying about 3 tons of food, propellant and other supplies for the astronauts aboard the International Space Station.
It will join another Progress vehicle at the orbiting lab — Progress 84, which arrived in late May. And Progress 83 just left, departing the ISS on Sunday (Aug. 20) after a six-month stay to burn up over the Pacific Ocean.
Such disposal is the norm for Progress vehicles, which are not reusable. (Northop Grumman’s Cygnus freighter is also designed for one-time use. SpaceX’s Cargo Dragon is the only currently operational ISS resupply vehicle that’s reusable.)
— Soyuz rocket: Russia’s venerable booster
— International Space Station — Everything you need to know
— Russian Progress cargo craft at space station springs a leak
Tonight’s Progress arrival will be the lead-in to an even bigger spaceflight event: The launch of SpaceX’s Crew-7 mission, which will send four astronauts to the ISS.
Crew-7 is scheduled to lift off on Friday (Aug. 25) at 3:50 a.m. EDT (0750 GMT) from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. You can watch the liftoff live here on Space.com; launch coverage will begin tonight at 11:45 p.m. EDT (0345 GMT on Aug. 25).
The Progress arrival and Crew-7 liftoff are part of a very busy week in spaceflight. For example, Russia’s Luna-25 moon probe crashed on Saturday (Aug. 19) while performing a maneuver designed to set up a Monday (Aug. 21) lunar landing attempt.
India’s Chandrayaan-3 mission aced its lunar touchdown yesterday (Aug. 23), notching a huge milestone for the nation. And, later that day, Rocket Lab launched a satellite to orbit using a rocket with a preflown engine — a first for the company, which is working toward booster reusability.
And there’s more action coming this weekend: On Saturday (Aug. 26), Japan plans to launch its XRISM X-ray space telescope, with a small moon lander called SLIM (“Smart Lander for Investigating Moon”) as a secondary payload.
SLIM’s descent toward the lunar surface a few weeks from now will be the first landing attempt for the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, but not for the nation overall. This past April, the Tokyo-based company ispace failed in its attempt to put a lander down on the lunar surface.