Russian cargo ship docks at ISS in record time

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

A Russian Progress cargo spacecraft on a Soyuz booster carrying supplies for the International Space Station crew has successfully completed its record-breaking two-orbit trip in less than four hours. 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. The first attempt occurred in October 2017 using the Progress 68 spacecraft, but a last-minute delay forced Roscosmos to shift to the older, 2-day flight profile due to the orbital mechanics needed for the faster trip.

"The length of the flight, between departure to its docking at the station, was 3 hours 40 minutes", the agency said in a statement, adding that it was a "first in the history of Progress cargo ships".

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.

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"It's a new achievement by our engineers", Russian cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin said on state television. Roscosmos first tried to use the new maneuver previous year, but it was aborted then for technical reasons.

Rogozin tweeted that the fast-track approach will be used in the future for assembling spacecraft in orbit for missions into deep space.

The station's current crew includes NASA astronauts Drew Feustel, Ricky Arnold and Serena Aunon-Chancellor, a European Space Agency's astronaut from Germany, Alexander Gerst, and Russians Oleg Artemyev and Sergey Prokopyev.

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