Soyuz “Victory Rocket” launches Progress MS-14, followed by docking to the ISS

 

Screenshot 2020-04-25 at 4.23.55 AM

by Chris Gebhardt

For the second time this month, the Russian federal space agency, Roscosmos, launched one of their crafts to the International Space Station.

Liftoff of the Progress MS-14 uncrewed cargo resupply mission to the orbital outpost launched from Site No. 31/6 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Friday, 24 April at 21:51:41 EDT — which was 01:51:41 UTC on Saturday, 25 April.

The mission performed a super fast-track rendezvous with the Station culminating in an automated docking just 3 hours 21 minutes after liftoff.

Unusually, Roscosmos has taken the rare step of giving this Soyuz rocket a name: “Victory Rocket”.

The name is part of Russia’s commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the decisive Soviet victory over Nazi and Axis Power forces at the end of World War II in May 1945.

As such, Soyuz also carried special symbols commemorating the 75th anniversary of “the Soviet peoples victory in the Great Patriotic War,” — as World War II was known contemporaneously within the Soviet Union.

The mission is the first Russian resupply flight of the year to the Space Station.

After undergoing pre-launch, stand-alone processing, Progress MS-14 was encapsulated within its payload fairing on 18 April and shipped two days later to its integration facility — where it was mated to the Blok-I second stage of its Soyuz 2.1a carrier rocket.

Once mated, the third stage was attached to the top of Soyuz 2.1a’s Blok-A core stage, completing rocket integration activities on 21 April.

The entire rocket stack was then rolled out to Site No. 31/6 at Baikonur via train on 22 April for final pre-launch processing.

Overall, this was the 103rd flight of the Soyuz 2 rocket and the 45th flight of the 2.1a variant.

The Soyuz 2.1a began flying on 8 November 2004 and was last used just two weeks ago to launch three crew members to the International Space Station — the first time this rocket variant flew with people aboard.

At the time of today’s single-second, instantaneous launch window at 01:51:41 UTC, the International Space Station was 506 km west-southwest of Baikonur.

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