Russian spacecraft completes fastest-ever orbital rendezvous with International Space Station

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

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

The entire event since the launch of the unmanned spacecraft until docking aired live on NASA Television and the agency's website. 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. At 9:31 p.m. ET, the spacecraft was ready to dock at the space station. The of late concluded flight was made to display accelerated capacity that may be utilized on subsequent Russian cargo and crew launches wrote NASA officials. Progress 70 will stay linked to the space station until January 2019, when it will be discarded, NASA officials said.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is an independent agency of the executive branch of the United States federal government responsible for the civilian space program, as well as aeronautics and aerospace research. With today's launch, Roscosmos aims to demonstrate that an even faster trip is feasible. Progress 70 should make the trip in just over 3.5 hours.

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The Russians attempted such a fast-track rendezvous on the two most recent Progress launches but in both cases, delays were ordered because of unrelated issues in the final moments of the countdown. Progress spacecraft (and crew-carrying Soyuz capsules) originally took two days to reach the station before Roscosmos cut that trip down to 6 hours in 2013.

But it seemed that fortune favored Progress 70. The vehicles look like Russia's crewed, three-module Soyuz spacecraft but can not carry people. The next cargo shipment is scheduled to arrive in September on a Japanese Kounotori spacecraft, also known as the H-2 Transfer Vehicle (HTV). In February, a Progress MS-07 launch was cancelled at the last minute after another attempt in October 2016.

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