PHOTO CREDITS: NASASPACEFLIGHT
According to Space.com, Russian Soyuz MS-17 has broken the record for the fastest trip to the International Space Station (ISS) ever at 3 hours and 3 minutes. This beats the previous record by 45 minutes and cuts Russia’s typical delivery time in half.
This spacecraft carried NASA astronaut Kate Rubins along with Russian cosmonauts Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov. The module docked with the ISS at 1:48 AM (PDT) on October 14th. The three astronauts will spend 177 days in space. During their stay, they will perform around 55 scientific experiments, continue to trace the reported air leak in the Zvezda module, and even perform two spacewalks: one in November and the other in February of next year, Russian news agency TASS, reported.
Previously, both the Soyuz and Progress missions took around 2 days to reach the ISS. Then in 2013, the Soyuz spacecraft carrying 3 crew members was the first to try out their new 6-hour rendezvous. The 6-hour flights require 4 orbits around the Earth before docking and were extremely efficient for their time.
This flight in particular was able to dock so quickly because of their new “fast-track” rendezvous method. This enables the spacecraft to only perform two orbits around the Earth. This method has been previously used 5 times by Russia’s cargo resupply spacecraft Progress. Progress is almost identical to Soyuz, except Progress transports cargo while Soyuz transports crew. Progress 70 held the previous record for the flight at a time of 3 hours and 48 minutes in July of 2018.
Over the past decade, the time it takes to make a trip to the International Space Station has decreased significantly. NASA’s space shuttles, which flew their final flight in 2011, had a trip time of about 24 hours. Roscosmos, the Russian space corporation has now brought this down to just over three hours. This is extremely important for the safety of astronauts and for the future of spaceflight itself.
ARTICLE: JOSEPH MODICA
SCIENCE/HEALTH EDITOR: KYLE SMITH