Published: Wed, July 11, 2018
Science | By Michele Flores

Russia Is Launching Its Fastest Cargo Ship to the Space Station Today

Russia Is Launching Its Fastest Cargo Ship to the Space Station Today

A Russian spacecraft has set a new speed record for sending cargo to the International Space Station (ISS). The Progress MS-09 lifted off as scheduled at 3:51 am today from the Russia-leased Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

The unmanned spacecraft loaded with almost three tons of supplies docked at the station in automatic mode less than four hours after the launch. That would be the fastest trip yet for a mission to the space station. Well, the specifics are a bit vague on Russia's end, but the gist is that the Russian space agency is now using an updated navigation system on its resupply missions. It can sometimes take up to two days for the cargo vessel to chase down the space station as it cruises around the Earth, but the stars seemed to align this time around and made for a ideal, speedy supply run.

This is the spacecraft's first attempt of a fast-track orbital rendezvous with ISS.

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A Russian cargo ship has delivered a fresh load of fuel, food, and other supplies for the International Space Station.

The fastest-ever cargo run took less than four hours, rather than the usual two days, due to a carefully planned, time-saving, two-orbit trajectory that Russian Federation wants to use for crewed as well as uncrewed flights. The vehicles look like Russia's crewed, three-module Soyuz spacecraft but can not carry people. Progress 70 will stay linked to the space station until January 2019, when it will be discarded, NASA officials said.

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