Russia Sends Long-Awaited Food, Supplies to ISS Cosmonauts

Russia has launched a postponed cargo spacecraft carrying food and supplies to cosmonauts at the International Space Station who had been forced to rely on American colleagues for supplies.

The Progress MS-16 freighter was due to send 2.5 tons of food, fuel and adhesives for air leak repairs to the ISS in December but was delayed due to the need for additional inspections. Until then, cosmonauts Sergei Ryzhikov and Sergei Kud-Sverchkov turned to four American astronauts to pull them through.

“We received from the American side, in my opinion, 13 containers with food rations,” Ryzhikov was quoted as radioing to mission control last month.

A live broadcast by Russia’s Roscosmos space agency Monday showed Progress lifting off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, reaching its orbit and deploying its solar arrays.

The unmanned Progress is scheduled to dock with the ISS’ Russian segment on Wednesday morning Moscow time.

Instead of undocking later this year, Progress is expected to detach the ISS’ Pirs docking compartment, which has logged nearly 20 years in service.

“Progress then will fire its engines to initiate a destructive entry into Earth’s atmosphere for both the spacecraft and docking compartment,” according to NASA.

A Nauka multipurpose laboratory module is expected to launch days earlier and dock to the vacated port.

Kremlin ‘Interested’ After Musk Invites Putin to Clubhouse Chat

SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk on Sunday invited President Vladimir Putin to a “conversation” on the popular invitation-only audio chat app Clubhouse.

“Would you like to join me for a conversation on Clubhouse?” Musk tweeted at Putin’s official Twitter account.

In a Russian-language follow-up, Musk said “it would be a great honor to speak with you.”

Both tweets garnered nearly a quarter-million likes and more than 20,000 retweets.

On Monday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov called Musk’s tweets an “interesting proposal,” but noted that “Putin doesn’t personally use social media” and “we need to understand what he has in mind.”

It was not immediately clear why the tech entrepreneur reached out to Putin.

Musk’s recent advances in developing reusable spacecraft, as well as a successful launch of a manned rocket to the International Space Station that stripped Russia of its monopoly on spaceflights, are known to have annoyed Moscow.

Musk, who regularly tweets in Russian, is also known to trade barbs with outspoken Russian space chief Dmitry Rogozin.

Russian media reported earlier in 2021 that lawmakers are considering fining users of SpaceX’s Starlink service or other western-based satellite internet providers.

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