Progress cargo spacecraft makes fastest-ever trip to space station

A Progress MS-series vehicle approaches the International Space Station for docking

Russian Cargo Ship Has Delivered a Fresh Load of Fuel, Food, and Other Supplies For the International Space Station.

The Progress MS-09 blasted off atop a Soyuz-2.1a rocket at 21:51 GMT Monday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Russian freighters and spacecraft carrying crews usually take at least six hours and four orbits around Earth to reach the space station. That new system is apparently a lot better than whatever they were using previously, and it's helped to make the trip much more efficient, thus cutting way down on the time it takes for its vehicles to arrive at the Space Station.

It marked the first time such a fast-track approach was used.

"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".

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NASA said that the fast trip to the station was meant to test an expedited capability that could be used on future Russian cargo and crew launch missions.

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.

"We're considering another two or three dockings of cargo crafts [with the ISS] and we'll then try the pattern at the Soyuz [manned] spacecraft", Romanov said.

The Progress carrier will stay docked to the ISS until January 2019, when it will be stuffed with trash and sent to burn up in the atmosphere, the Space.com website reports.

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