Unpiloted Russian Cargo Ship Reaches Space Station In Record Time

Unpiloted Russian Cargo Ship Reaches Space Station In Record Time

Unpiloted Russian Cargo Ship Reaches Space Station In Record Time

Coverage, which began July 9, aired on NASA Television and the agency´s website.

A Soyuz rocket is scheduled to launch the uncrewed Progress 70 spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 5:51 p.m. EDT (2151 GMT) to deliver almost 3 tons of supplies for the space station's crew.

"The less-than-four-hour trip will demonstrate an expedited capability that may be used on future Russian cargo and crew launches", NASA said in a news release. It will stay at the orbital outpost until the end of January 2019.

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The first two attempts (last year in October and this year in February) were less fast due to launch delays that made the Russian space agency use an old trajectory that resulted in a two days' trip and 34 orbits.

The previous record was 5 hours 39 minutes, according to the Russian news agency RIA Novosti. This will be replaced with the new Multipurpose Laboratory Module Nauka, whose launch date is yet to be decided.

Space exploration agencies hope the flights will eventually allow astronauts and cosmonauts to routinely make the trip to the ISS in just a few hours - instead of the two-day journey in cramped conditions they now have to endure in order to reach the world's only orbital laboratory.

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The new navigation system surely helped, but the speed at which a cargo ship can reach the space station depends on a number of different factors, not least of which is the position of the station itself in Earth's orbit. "Third time was the charm". The next cargo shipment is scheduled to arrive in September on a Japanese Kounotori spacecraft, also known as the H-2 Transfer Vehicle (HTV).

The ISS had a resupply mission recently that lifted off in Kazakhstan atop a Soyuz-2.1a booster.

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