This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.
A U.S.-Russian crew has reached the International Space Station (ISS) after a journey of just over three hours — the fastest ever for a manned craft to the orbiting laboratory.
“SoyuzMS17 crewed spacecraft docked successfully to the Russian segment of the International Space Station, for the first time in history making it in just two orbits around the Earth!” the Russian space agency, Roskosmos, tweeted on October 14.
Пилотируемый корабль #СоюзМС17 успешно пристыковался к российскому сегменту Международной космической станции, впервые в мире совершив всего 2 витка вокруг Земли!
— РОСКОСМОС (@roscosmos) October 14, 2020
Roskosmos chief Dmitry Rogozin said the journey took “three hours and three minutes,” about half the usual time for the trip.
Russian cosmonauts Sergei Ryzhikov and Sergei Kud-Sverchkov and NASA’s Kathleen Rubins used a fast-track maneuver to reach the orbital outpost after lifting off from the Russian-leased Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
At the ISS, the trio joined the station’s U.S. commander, Chris Cassidy, and Russian cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner, who have been aboard the laboratory since April and are scheduled to return to Earth next week.