MOSCOW, Russia – With Russia testing a faster route to supply the International Space Station (EIA), the trip will soon be only three hours, according to Dmitry Rogozin, head of Roscosmos.
In July, the Progress freighter used a two-orbit meeting to reach the ERA for the first time in history. The trip lasted about 3 hours and 40 minutes. Rogozin has promised even shorter travel times for crew members and potential space tourists when the scheme is expanded to the Soyuz spacecraft.
“In six months we will be delivering crew and tourists to the ISS faster than a flight from Moscow to Brussels,” he wrote on Twitter.
For decades, Russian and American launches traveled for two days before carefully anchoring the space station. A four-orbit-six-hour scheme was introduced in 2012, making travel much more comfortable.
Rapid encounter maneuvers were historically used when the USSR and the US were developing their space anchoring technologies, but these missions required the target ship to be placed in a special orbit.
The world record of time between launch and fitting is made by the Soviet unmanned Soyuz mission of 1968, targeting the Kosmos-213 station, which took only 47 minutes. The fastest encounter was made by Georgy Beregovoy in about an hour, but the mooring process was aborted.
But the long-term operation of the space station required an orbit less suitable for a quick meeting, which made traveling to Skylab, Mir, and now to the IEE take more orbits and time.
Russia’s next orbit progress supply mission is set for March.
Meanwhile, Researchers at the Institute of Hydrobiology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences have presented an ambitious project: transforming the sandy desert of Mars into fertile soil using microalgae.
According to Russian scientist Vitaly Khoroshavin, it is possible to fertile any soil, including that of the red planet, whose mineral chemical composition is not very different from that of our planet.