Published: Fri, July 13, 2018
Sci-tech | By Brandy Patterson

Russia Just Launched the Fastest Cargo Mission Ever to the Space Station

Now, Russia has proven that humans can get to space significantly faster.

Today's launch marks the third attempt to send a Progress cargo ship to the ISS via this new fast track. 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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Astronauts aboard the ISS - a science laboratory orbiting 250 miles above Earth every 90 minutes - are able to see multiple moonsets in a single day as it travels at a brisk speed of 17,100 miles per hour. Progress-MS-09 is expected to dock to the ISS on July 10 at 04:39 Moscow time.

But it seemed that fortune favored Progress 70.

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At the moment of launch, the International Space Station, streaking through space at almost five miles per second, was expected to be just 370 miles to the southwest of Baikonur. 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 ideal, speedy supply run.

Progress 70 will remain at the orbital outpost until late January 2019.

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Navias added that Roscosmos officials hope to fly several more superfast Progress flights to the space station before using the 2-orbit flight profile for crewed missions on the agency's Soyuz spacecraft. The next cargo shipment is scheduled to arrive in September on a Japanese Kounotori spacecraft, also known as the H-2 Transfer Vehicle (HTV).

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