Russian cargo ship set for quick delivery of supplies to ISS

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Progress 70 pronounced Russia's third such fast-track attempt.

The Progress MS-09 blasted off atop a Soyuz-2.1a rocket at 21:51 GMT Monday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

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. Because of complex orbital constraints - a variety of launch-day specific conditions must be met - both spacecraft eventually used more traditional two-day approaches. It will take the ISS' crew several months to unload all of it, but once Progress 70 has been emptied, it's slated to bring the 16-foot, 8,000-pound Pirs docking compartment, originally attached to the ISS in 2011, back to Earth.

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.

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Russian Cargo Ship MS-09 successfully docked International Space Station with food, fuel and other supplies. Progress 70 will stay linked to the space station until January 2019, when it will be discarded, NASA officials said.

But it seemed that fortune favored Progress 70.

Russian cargo resupply trips to the International Space Station have become such a regular, predictable thing that even NASA rarely bothers to make a big deal out of them, but today's resupply mission is worth some attention.

"A ideal launch", Navias said of Progress 70's liftoff. The next cargo shipment is scheduled to arrive in September on a Japanese Kounotori spacecraft, also known as the H-2 Transfer Vehicle (HTV).

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