Russian cargo ship docks at ISS in record time

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

The mission will set a new speed record for space station trips: It's supposed to take less than 4 hours, NASA says.

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. Progress 70 should make the trip in just over 3.5 hours. 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. Well, the specifics are a bit vague on Russia's end, but the gist is that the Russian space agency is now using an updated navigation system on its resupply missions.

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.

It marked the first time such a fast-track approach was used. In February, a Progress MS-07 launch was cancelled at the last minute after another attempt in October 2016. Ultimately, Progress 69 launched on the 2-day flight profile as well.

A Russian cargo ship has delivered a fresh load of fuel, food, and other supplies for the International Space Station.

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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