For the first time in history, a Russian Soyuz spacecraft was connected to the International Space Station without anyone sitting in the driver's seat.
Soyuz MS-14, the unmanned spacecraft, docked at the space station late Tuesday (August 26) and parked at a port at the far end of the Russian Svezda service module on the outpost. It was the second attempt by Soyuz MS-14 to dock at the station after a Saturday attempt ended with a surprise crash.
"The second time was the allure," NASA spokesman Rob Navias said during a live commentary shortly after the Soyuz docked. "A perfect approach." The space station sailed 418 kilometers over eastern Mongolia when the Soyuz docked at 23:08. EDT (0308 GMT).
Video: Watching the Soyuz docking as it happened
Robots on board
While aboard the Soyuz MS-14 there was no human crew, the spacecraft was by no means empty.
Russia's space agency Roscosmos grabbed the spacecraft at 1,450 pounds. (658 kg) Food and other vital supplies to supply the station crew with supplies. The centerpiece, however, is the humanoid Skybot F-850.
The 1.8-meter robot sat at the start of the command seat of the Soyuz MS-14 and drew all possible conditions such as forces and vibrations on engineers an idea of what people on Soyuz 2.1a would experience. Cosmonauts on the space station will also test the robot in space to see how it can make life easier for the crew.
Finally, Roscosmos imagines that one day the robot might help explore the surface of another world.
In photos: Russia's humanoid Skybot robot for space
The Soyuz is moored on Sunday after a busy weekend, Ships were shuffled aboard the International Space Station to make room for the MS-14. The spaceship was supposed to dock on station Poisk module on Saturday, but a problem with the module's automated rendezvous system forced Soyuz to crash.
In order to release the docking port of the Svezda module for Soyuz MS-14, Russian cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov and two crew members (Andrew Morgan of NASA and Luca Parmitano of the European Space Agency) relocated their own Soyuz spacecraft – Soyuz MS -13 – To Poisk Port. Skvortsov manually flew the Soyuz to avoid the problems with the Soyuz MS-14 rendezvous system, which does not have a human crew capable of manual control.
Video: Soyuz can not tie himself to the docking dock of the space station
Sunday's pace with Soyuz paved the way for the second docking attempt by Soyuz MS-14 Monday, which ended without an error hitch. The spaceship approached on schedule, clinging to the station and smoothly coupling to the Zvezda module. The cameras on the space station showed a breathtaking view of the Soyuz MS-14 as she rounded the station.
"Congratulations are in order", the Russian air traffic controller called station commander Alexey Ovchinin and his six-man Expedition 60 crew after docking. "You did a good job," said another.
Ovchini seemed to think that it was only part of a well-done job.
"We all did a good job," he said.
The coming and going on the space station is not over yet. On Tuesday, a SpaceX Dragon cargo ship is expected to leave the space station and return to Earth. SpaceX brought the kite to the station on July 25 to deliver more than £ 5,000. (2,268 kilograms) Inventory for Expedition 60 crew.
The Dragon Supply Ship, which is leaving for the third time, is released from robotics at 10:42 am GMT (1442 GMT), returning 2,700 pounds (1,225 kg) scientific results and other equipment to earth. If all goes well, Dragon splashes about 500 km west of Long Beach, California, in the Pacific Ocean, to be recovered later.
You can follow the departure of the Dragon Station's Space Station on Space.com on Tuesday, August 27th. The webcast will start at 10:15 am CET (1415 GMT).