Russian Progress 50 Robot Spacecraft Reaches the ISS in Just Six Hours

The craft is carrying supplies for the ISS and is testing a new fast track trajectory

Astronauts aboard the International Space Station have gotten a fresh pile of supplies thanks to the Russian Progress capsule which has just docked with the ISS.

Supply missions like this are quite mundane, the astronauts need water, oxygen, fuel and plenty of other supplies on a regular basis to survive in outer space after all.

What was special about this mission was that the Progress 50 cargo ship took only six hours or so from launch to successful docking with the ISS.

It's the third mission in history to use a new fast-track trajectory in which spacecraft only do four full orbits around the world before reaching the ISS' height.

The regular launch plan has a craft doing 34 orbits and takes over two days. That's how long it takes to get astronauts to the ISS currently. It's no fun for the three astronauts making the trip to stay fixed to their seats in the cramped Soyuz craft for more than two days.

With the success of the recent resupply missions, there is a possibility that this fast-track trajectory will be used for manned missions in the future, maybe even as soon as the next planned mission in March, when the Expedition 35 crew is heading up.

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