An unpiloted Russian Progress cargo ship loaded with 2.8 tons of supplies and equipment was prepped for launch from Kazakhstan Monday on what could be the fastest trip ever to the International Space Station.
"The less-than-four-hour trip will demonstrate an expedited capability that may be used on future Russian cargo and crew launches". About nine minutes after liftoff, the three-stage rocket released the Progress MS-09 spacecraft to continue its trip to the ISS. NASA TV will provide live coverage of the spacecraft's arrival and docking at the ISS, and you can watch it live here starting at 9 p.m. EDT (0100 GMT). (530 kilograms) of propellant, 115 lbs.
So far, Russian spacecraft have proved to be faster than any others which headed to the space station.
Progress 70 will remain at the orbital outpost until late January 2019.
Space.com notes that ISS crew members just stuff the Progress capsules with waste, then sent away to burn up in the atmosphere. This will be replaced with the new Multipurpose Laboratory Module Nauka, whose launch date is yet to be decided.
It's incredibly impressive, considering the previous record was a whopping five hours and 39 minutes.
The space agency had tried in October of 2017 and again in February of this year, but last-minute glitches forced the agency to pursue the traditional 2-day-long and 34-orbit profile, the website said. The first Progress launch was in 1978 to the Soviet space station Salyut 6.
This is the spacecraft's first attempt of a fast-track orbital rendezvous with ISS.