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13 July 2018, 12:53 | Dale Webster
Russian spacecraft aims to break record for fastest 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. The Progress and its payload, consisting of almost three tons' worth of food, fuel and supplies, arrived at the orbital outpost at 6:31 p.m. PT.
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.
Russian Cargo Ship MS-09 successfully docked International Space Station with food, fuel and other supplies. Usually, Progress capsules are sent away to burn up in Earth's atmosphere after ISS crewmembers stuff the vessels with waste.
So far, Russian spacecraft have proved to be faster than any others which headed to the space station.
The cargo vehicle will remain at the orbital outpost until late January 2019, NASA said.
The Progress 70 launch is Russia's third attempt to fly a superfast mission to the space station. This will be replaced with the new Multipurpose Laboratory Module Nauka, whose launch date is yet to be decided.
The Russians attempted such a fast-track rendezvous on the two most recent Progress launches but in both cases, delays were ordered because of unrelated issues in the final moments of the countdown.
But it seemed that fortune favored Progress 70. 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 flawless, speedy supply run.
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