Moscow, Jun 3 (EFE).- Russia on Friday launched the Progress MS-20 freighter, which hurtled towards the International Space Station (ISS) carrying over two and a half tons of cargo.
The resupply craft, which is transporting fuel, water, food, scientific equipment and materials, was propelled by a Soyuz-2.1a rocket that blasted off from Russia’s Baikonur Cosmodrome, in Kazakhstan, at 12:32 Moscow time (09:32 GMT).
The launch was broadcast live by Roscosmos, the Russian space agency.
The freighter will dock with the Zvezda module, a Russian segment of the ISS, at 16:02 Moscow time (13:02 GMT).
The Russian space agency has referenced its ongoing war in Ukraine by painting the word ‘Donbas’, an area in eastern Ukraine that Russia has been making claims to since annexing the Crimean peninsula in 2014, on the Soyuz rocket.
The rocket’s fairings were also decorated with the flags of the two breakaway states, known as the Luhansk and the Donetsk People’s Republics and which Moscow recognized as independent three days before launching its bloody war in Ukraine on February 24.
The Progress MS-20 is carrying 599 kilograms of fuel, 420 liters of water, 40 kilograms of compressed nitrogen, as well as almost 1.5 tons of equipment, materials and food rations, including fresh food, for the crew of the orbital platform.
The spacecraft is also traveling with four CubeSats. The nanosatellites, which weigh less 1.3 kilograms, were manufactured by two Russian universities and will be put into orbit by Russian cosmonauts working at the ISS.
The ISS crew is made up of Russian cosmonauts Sergey Korsakov, Oleg Artemyev and Denis Matveev, American astronauts Kjell Lindgren, Robert Hines and Jessica Watkins, and Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti.
The ISS, a project worth over $150 billion, is made up of 15 permanent modules and orbits the Earth at a distance of 400 kilometers and a speed of more than 27,000 kilometers per hour.
In April, the director-general of Roscosmos, Dmitry Rogozon, announced that Russia would be pulling out of the ISS but did not say when the departure would take place. EFE