It took less time to get from Earth to the International Space Station than it usually takes to fly with a passenger plane from Toronto to Edmonton!
The engine on Northrup Grumman's Cygnus cargo ship fired for 50 seconds Tuesday at 4:25 p.m. EDT to reboost the station in a test created to verify an additional capability to adjust the station's altitude, if required. Over those 40 years, the vast majority of Progress launches have taken 34-orbit (2-day) journeys to whatever space stations (Salyut 6, Salyut 7, Mir, or ISS) they have resupplied. The less-than-four-hour trip demonstrated an expedited capability that may be used on future Russian cargo and crew launches.
The Russian spacecraft was carrying more than two tons of cargo, including fuel, air, maintenance equipment, and care and life support packs for the astronauts on board the ISS. It will stay at the orbital outpost until the end of January 2019.
The station's current crew includes NASA astronauts Drew Feustel, Ricky Arnold and Serena Aunon-Chancellor, a European Space Agency's astronaut from Germany, Alexander Gerst, and Russians Oleg Artemyev and Sergey Prokopyev. But when Progress 70 undocks from the ISS, it will take something else back home with it: the entire Pirs docking compartment.
This is the spacecraft's first attempt of a fast-track orbital rendezvous with ISS.
But it seemed that fortune favored Progress 70.
Russia's Progress spacecraft are not the only vehicles that transport crew supplies and science gear to the ISS.
Ever since the mission was being prepared, NASA said speed is a goal of the mission.