“It feels like Christmas in July!”
That was the jubilant and relieved message from the International Space Station as a Russian Progress cargo ship – carrying desperately needed supplies – successfully docked at the orbital outpost following some failed deliveries.
This was mission accomplished for the un-piloted spacecraft carrying vital food, water, fuel and other supplies, two days after its launch from from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
The delight at its safe arrival was all the stronger after recent failed attempts to supply the space lab.
An ISS-bound cargo ship was lost, just after take-off from Florida at the end of June,when an unmanned SpaceX rocket went up in smoke.
And on April 28, Russia lost a Progress cargo ship due to dock at the space lab. It failed to separate properly from its Soyuz rocket, dooming that delivery as well.
Unable to reach its intended orbit, the capsule incinerated as it re-entered the atmosphere on May 8.
Those failures cast a shadow over the still emerging space transport industry, but experts said they had not exposed any fundamental flaws.