Published: Fri, July 13, 2018
Sci-tech | By Patricia Wade

Russian spacecraft sets record for speedy trip to space station

The Progress MS-09 lifted off as scheduled at 3:51 a.m. local time on July 10 from the Russia-leased Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan for a journey that lasted just under four hours. To pull it off, NASA and the Russian space agency used launch windows that allowed the ship to couple with the station in hours, compared to several days the SpaceX's Dragon capsule needs to accomplish the task.

Russian Federation has consistently tried to keep cargo trips to the space station below six hours, setting a new precedent for a trip which used to take two days. (1,565 kg) of other "dry" cargo like food and other equipment, NASA public affairs officer Dan Huot told in an email.

It was the third attempt to execute the short two-orbit flight scheme for the Progress MS freighter, which required a coordinated effort to realign the orbit of the ISS.Two previous attempts were hindered by delays in the final moments of the countdown that exceeded narrow launch opportunities for the fast-track flight.

Russia's space agency, Roscosmos, is getting rid of the 17-year-old module to make room for the new Multipurpose Laboratory Module (MDM), also known as Nauka, which has yet to launch to the ISS.

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Progress 70 will remain at the orbital outpost until late January 2019. Ultimately, Progress 69 launched on the 2-day flight profile as well.

Ever since the mission was being prepared, NASA said speed is a goal of the mission.

Russia's Progress spacecraft are not the only vehicles that transport crew supplies and science gear to the ISS.

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