Russian rocket successfully reaches ISS for resupply

The unmanned Russian cargo spacecraft, loaded with thousands of kilos of supplies for the International Space Station (ISS), successfully docked on Sunday.

Launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on 3 July, the spacecraft orbited earth twice before docking at the Pirs Docking Compartment of the ISS 7.11am GMT on Sunday.

The resupply Progress 60 craft was carrying more than three tons of supplies including 880kg of fuel, 48kg of oxygen, 420kg of water, and 1,420kg of spare parts, supplies and experiment hardware, according to a Nasa press release.

The Expedition 44 crew, made up of Russian cosmonauts Gennady Padalka and Mikhail Kornienko, along with US astronaut Scott Kelly, have been living on the ISS for 101 days and were clearly pleased to receive the package.

#Progress docks to Pirs docking compartment at 3:11am ET. Crew reports, "Feels like Christmas in July"

— Intl. Space Station (@Space_Station) July 5, 2015

Kelly, who arrived on ISS with his fellow astronauts on 27 March to begin his year-long mission on the Space Station, tweeted his delight.

Christmas in July! Great gift for my 100th day in space! Only ~250 more to go (not that I’m counting) #YearInSpace

— Scott Kelly (@StationCDRKelly) July 5, 2015

The success of this latest mission is a particular relief as two previously attempted resupply missions had both failed.

A US built SpaceX rocket exploded before reaching orbit on route to the space station on 28 June of this year. SpaceX won a Nasa Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) contract in 2006, which funded the company's development of transport and supply rockets for ISS and has so far successfully completed six missions.

Two months prior on 29 April, another Russian made Progress supply capsule lost radio contact while in orbit, tumbling out of control and failing to complete its resupply mission.

The Progress 60 craft is to remain docked at the ISS for four months. The ISS is scheduled to receive three additional residents on 22 July; Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko, Japanese Kimiya Yui and American Kjell N Lindgren. It will be the first spaceflight for Yui and Lindgren.