Russian Craft Embarks On Space Station Halloween Mission

An unmanned Russian Progress supply ship took off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Wednesday for a flight to the International Space Station on Halloween.

The Progress M-17M has been loaded with 2.9 tons of supplies and equipment. It launched from its stand in Kazakhstan at 3:41 am EDT and smoothly accelerated toward its orbit on a trail of fiery exhaust, reports CBS News.

The unmanned supply ship was released into its planned preliminary orbit exactly eight minutes and 45 seconds later, making it successfully on track to dock at the aft port of the Russian Zvezda command module around 9:40 am EDT.

Station commander Sunita Williams spoke with NASA flight controllers in Houston, saying:

“Good morning. Happy Halloween, and hopefully our little trick-or-treat vehicle is on its way. We just got to see it out the window and that’s pretty special. Hope you guys are having a great day.”


NBC News notes that the Progress M-17M, which flew to the International Space Station, is filled with 2,050 pounds of propellant, 926 pounds of water, 62 pounds of oxygen, and 2,738 pounds of spare parts. There’s no word on whether any candy corn or other Halloween goodies made it on board to help the six astronauts currently living on the space station celebrate Halloween.

While life aboard the ISS is always busy, this week is particularly so for the station’s crew. Not only are they accepting the Russian unmanned orbiter, but its launch is just three days after the first commercial unmanned cargo delivery ship (SpaceX’s Dragon capsule) undocked from the station.

Crew members aboard the space station will also embark on a space walk on Thursday to repair an ammonia leak in a radiator.

The International Space Station Halloween craft will stay docked at the station until next April.