Just a few days ago, SpaceX shot one of its Dragon cargo ships into space, and was packed with supplies for the crew of the International Space Station. Now Russia has done the same with its Progress 73 cargo ship, only to arrive much faster this time.
The spacecraft, which was sent to the sky on top of Russia's Soyuz rocket, completed two Earth orbits as it stepped toward its destination and crossed the path from Earth to the space station in just over three hours, a turnaround.
The Russian space agency Roscosmos was a pioneer in these ultra-fast voyages, regularly setting speed records and dramatically shortening the arrival time of its Progress cargo ships.
The amount of time it takes for a ship to travel from Earth to the ISS depends on the number of orbits it has to fill in order to be positioned around the space docking station. The older Progress launches needed at least four orbits to accomplish this feat, but more recent missions cut that number in half, as did the total travel time.
As Space.com The Progress 73 delivery reports include nearly 5500 pounds of supplies, including 110 pounds of oxygen, 926 pounds of water and over 1700 pounds of fuel. Food, clothing and various other supplies make up the rest of the cargo, which the crew will gradually unload after the cargo ship has successfully landed.
The current ISS crew begins Expedition 60, which will take several months. A whole host of new experiments are planned and some are already underway, so we can expect a steady stream of news from NASA and their Russian counterparts in the months ahead.