Russian spacecraft sets record for speedy trip to space station

It was carrying almost three tons of food, fuel and other supplies for the stations Expedition 56 crew.

The ISS Progress 70 spacecraft lifted off at 5:51 p.m. EDT July 9 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Progress 70 connected with the space station as both spacecraft navigated high over the Tasman Sea between Australia and New Zealand. 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.

The Progress 70 launch is Russia's third attempt to fly a superfast mission to the space station.

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Dr Gerst, a geophysicist who was selected in 2009 to take part in space training and is now on his second space mission, wrote: "By orbiting the Earth nearly 16 times per day, the #ISS crew travel the distance to the Moon and back - every day". Progress MS-09 will stay docked until late January. This will be replaced with the new Multipurpose Laboratory Module Nauka, whose launch date is yet to be decided.

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

Progress 70 is not ready to come home yet. Roscosmos first planned to launch the Progress 68 spacecraft on this 4-hour flight in October 2017, but a last-minute delay forced flight controllers to revert to the old two-day route due to the orbital mechanics involved in reaching the ISS. The vehicles look like Russia's crewed, three-module Soyuz spacecraft but can not carry people.

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