Russian cargo ship launched to International Space Station

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The entire event since the launch of the unmanned spacecraft until docking aired live on NASA Television and the agency's website. The Progress MS-09 lifted off as scheduled at 3:51 am today from the Russia-leased Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Progress-MS-09 is expected to dock to the ISS on July 10 at 04:39 Moscow time.

The success of this mission may set the way for future Russian cargo and crew launches using the same expedited capability. The Progress 70 cargo ship will remain at the orbital outpost until late January 2019, NASA said.

Russian cargo ship places a novel record for the speediest trip to space station.

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When Progress finally leaves the ISS, it will bring the 17-year-old Pirs docking compartment along with it. Roscosmos will be replacing it with the Multipurpose Laboratory Module that's dubbed Nauka.

Cargo vessels operated by SpaceX and Northrop Grumman take several days to reach the ISS post-launch. However, the space agency found a way to reduce that travel time to just under 6 hours in 2013. Because the launch was aborted during the final moments of the countdown, the mission missed its chance to take the fast route to the ISS. "Third time was the charm".

Russia's Progress spacecraft are not the only vehicles that transport crew supplies and science gear to the ISS. That put the spacecraft about eight minutes ahead of schedule.

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Ever since the mission was being prepared, NASA said speed is a goal of the mission.

A second attempt earlier this year in February hit the same roadblock with Progress 69: A last-minute glitch forced Roscosmos to abort the launch a minute before liftoff.

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