Progress cargo spacecraft makes fastest-ever trip to space station

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The Progress 70 resupply ship, loaded with nearly 2,721 kgs of food, fuel and supplies, is set to launch from Baikonur space port in Kazakhstan at 3.51 am (Kazakhstan time) on Tuesday. The craft has brought over 2.5 tons of water, fuel, food and other supplies, extending the entire crucial provision supply to at least mid-January 2019.

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.

When it arrives at the ISS, the Progress spacecraft will dock at the Russian Pirs module.

Russian cargo ship places a novel record for the speediest trip to space station. Now, Russia has proven that humans can get to space significantly faster. Usually, Progress capsules are sent away to burn up in Earth's atmosphere after ISS crewmembers stuff the vessels with waste. This will be replaced with the new Multipurpose Laboratory Module Nauka, whose launch date is yet to be decided.

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The first attempt occurred in October 2017 using the Progress 68 spacecraft, but a last-minute delay forced Roscosmos to shift to the older, 2-day flight profile due to the orbital mechanics needed for the faster trip.

But it seemed that fortune favored Progress 70.

The goal is to shorten the time it takes a crew to reach the station inside a cramped Soyuz ferry ship, a trip that traditionally took two days, or 34 orbits.

Russia's Progress spacecraft are not the only vehicles that transport crew supplies and science gear to the ISS.

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