A Russian Progress cargo ship wrapped up a flawless two-day rendezvous and glided in for an automated docking with the International Space Station early Thursday, bringing three tons of supplies, water, air and propellant to the lab complex. Launched Tuesday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, the Progress MS-08/69P supply ship's docking mechanism engaged its counterpart in the aft port of the Zvezda service module at 5:38 a.m. EST (GMT-5) as the two spacecraft sailed 252 miles above the western Pacific Ocean southeast of the Philippines.
Hooks and latches then pulled the Progress in and locked it in place, setting the stage for extensive leak checks to verify a tight seal. Station commander Alexander Misurkin and cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov planned to open hatches between the vehicles later in the day.
The Progress, the first of three scheduled for launch to the station this year, delivered 1,940 pounds of propellant, 101 pounds of oxygen and air, 926 pounds of water and 3,128 pounds of dry cargo.
With the docking complete, the crew of the U.S. segment of the station planned to complete preparations for a spacewalk Friday by NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei and Japanese physician-astronaut Norishige Kanai to relocate robot arm grapple fixtures after repair work last month. The six-and-a-half-hour excursion was expected to begin around 7:10 a.m.