by WorldTribune Staff, July 11, 2018
Russia has used a new fast-track approach to make a delivery to the International Space Station in record time.
The Russian cargo ship Progress MS-09, after lifting off from the Russia-leased Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, docked at the space station less than four hours after the launch, the Roscosmos space agency said.
In the past, it took two days for cargo ships to reach the space outpost.
Roscosmos director Dmitry Rogozin tweeted that the fast-track approach will be used in the future for assembling spacecraft in orbit for missions into deep space.
The Progress MS-09 delivered a fresh load of fuel, food, and other supplies for the space station.
Roscosmos said the faster trip is possible due to a new version of the Soyuz booster rocket, noting that it puts the ship into orbit with higher precision.
“It’s a new achievement by our engineers,” Russian cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin said on state television.
Yurchikhin added that the new fast approach will also be used by manned Soyus spacecraft that deliver crews to the station.
Roscosmos first tried to use the new maneuver last year, but it was aborted for technical reasons.
The station’s current crew includes NASA astronauts Drew Feustel, Ricky Arnold and Serena Aunon-Chancellor, a European Space Agency astronaut from Germany, Alexander Gerst, and Russians Oleg Artemyev and Sergey Prokopyev.