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Unpiloted Russian Cargo Ship Reaches Space Station In Record Time

13 July 2018

In the near future, humans might be able to leave earth after eating breakfast, arriving at the space station in time for lunch. The robotic Progress 70 freighter, which loaded with almost 3 tons of food, fuel and other reserves landed with the station at 9:31 p.m. EDT succeeding a finish a mere two orbits of Earth.

The previous record was 5 hours 39 minutes, according to the Russian news agency RIA Novosti. But when Progress 70 undocks from the ISS, it will take something else back home with it: the entire Pirs docking compartment. Now, Russia has proven that humans can get to space significantly faster. Previously resupply missions with "Progress" spacecraft have taken either six hours (four orbits) or two days (34 orbits).

Here are SpacePolicyOnline.com's tidbits for July 9, 2018: fastest-ever Progress docking with ISS; but is Russia's space program entering the "dark ages"? Ultimately, Progress 69 launched on the 2-day flight profile as well. "Third time was the charm".

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Russia's space agency, Roscosmos, attributed the speedy delivery time and fewer loops around the Earth's orbit to the improved capacity of the Soyuz 2.1 carrier rocket. The vehicles look like Russia's crewed, three-module Soyuz spacecraft but can not carry people. That mission, HTV-7, will take about 4 hours to reach the ISS after launching from Japan's Tanegashima Space Center.

By the time the Progress spacecraft separated from its upper stage booster eight minutes and 45 second after takeoff, the lab complex was expected to be 1,004 miles ahead with both spacecraft in the same orbital plane.

Unpiloted Russian Cargo Ship Reaches Space Station In Record Time