Thursday, 24 January, 2019

Russian cargo ship arrives at International Space Station

Theresa Hayes | 13 July, 2018, 00:52

An unpiloted Russian space cargo ship loaded with 2.8 tons of food, fuel, and other supplies has reached the International Space Station (ISS) in record time.

Today, the third try was the charm and Progress MS-09 lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on time at 5:51 am ET (July 10 local time at the launch site).

"The less-than-four-hour trip will demonstrate an expedited capability that may be used on future Russian cargo and crew launches", NASA said in a news release.

Roscosmos first launched Progress cargo missions to the ISS in 2000; back then, it would take about two days for one of the spacecraft to chase down the orbiting lab after launch.

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. 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.

But it seemed that fortune favored Progress 70.

The engine on Northrup Grumman's Cygnus cargo ship fired for 50 seconds Tuesday at 4:25 p.m. EDT to reboost the station in a test created to verify an additional capability to adjust the station's altitude, if required.

"A ideal launch", Navias said of Progress 70's liftoff.

Ever since the mission was being prepared, NASA said speed is a goal of the mission.

The Pirs module is the preferred docking port for the Soyuz and Progress vehicles.