In a demonstration of expedited capability, a Russian cargo ship is readying itself to deliver supplies to the International Space Station (ISS) in less than four hours.
Soyuz 2.1a rocket with Progress-MS-09 cargo spacecraft was launched for a fast-track orbital rendezvous with the International Space Station (ISS) from Baikonur Cosmodrome at 00:51 Moscow time.
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According to Space.com, the Russians had tried twice before to achieve this speedy feat, but had been thwarted on both occasions by lift-off delays that meant it was necessary to turn the trips into two-day missions. 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.
A second attempt earlier this year in February hit the same roadblock with Progress 69: A last-minute glitch forced Roscosmos to abort the launch a minute before liftoff. Progress 70 will stay linked to the space station until January 2019, when it will be discarded, NASA officials said. In the past, it took the Progress ships about six hours or two days to reach the space outpost.