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

Russia Sends Cargo to Space Station With Record Speed

Russia Sends Cargo to Space Station With Record Speed

A Russian robotic spacecraft has smashed the record for the time taken to reach the International Space Station (ISS), managing the feat in a mere three hours and 40 minutes.

The Progress 70 resupply ship, loaded with nearly 2,721 kgs of food, fuel and supplies, is set to launch from Baikonur space port in Kazakhstan at 3.51 am (Kazakhstan time) on Tuesday. The ship, called Progress, took off from its launch site in Kazakhstan at just before 10 p.m. GMT and arrived at the space station just a few hours later. That would be the fastest trip yet for a mission to the space station.

The Progress 70 launch is Russia's third attempt to fly a superfast mission to the space station. Elon Musk's SpaceX Dragon commercial cargo supplier and Northrop Grumman's Cygnus take several days to reach the station.

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It marked the first time such a fast-track approach was used.

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. In February, a Progress MS-07 launch was cancelled at the last minute after another attempt in October 2016. The craft has brought over 2.5 tons of water, fuel, food and other supplies, extending the entire crucial provision supply to at least mid-January 2019.

Progress spacecraft are disposable vehicles that are packed with trash and unneeded items and intentionally burned up in Earth's atmosphere at mission's end.

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