Russia Impresses with Speedy Progress Space Station Docking Mission
Russia achieved an International Space Station first on Wednesday, launching and docking the Progress 48 re-supply mission within six hours.
A similar test of a Soyuz crew transport with three passengers aboard is perhaps a year or more away.
The Soyuz and Progress launch to docking timeline typically unfolds across 34 orbits over two days.
A repeat of Wednesday’s Progress sprint could also be used for a hurry up delivery of space station hardware.
The supply capsule and its near three tons of supplies lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Wednesedy at 3:35 p.m., EDT. The automated linkup with the six person orbiting laboratory at 8:18 p.m. beat the schedule by 7 minutes. The entire trip took just 5 hours, 43 minutes.
A second Progress test flight of the accelerated docking timeline could be scheduled for later this year.