The robotic Progress 70 freighter, which is packed with nearly 3 tons of food, fuel and other supplies, docked with the station at 9:31 p.m. EDT (0131 GMT on July 10) after completing a mere two orbits of Earth. The vehicle had launched from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 5:51 p.m. EDT
Progress 70 linked up with the space station as both spacecraft sailed high over the Tasman Sea between Australia and New Zealand. And there was a bonus: The spacecraft docked a full 8 minutes early, making for an even faster trip than expected.
The quickest previous trips to the ISS, pulled off by Progress freighters and crew-carrying Russian Soyuz spacecraft, had taken about 6 hours and required four orbits of our planet.
The newly completed flight was designed to "demonstrate an expedited capability that may be used on future Russian cargo and crew launches," NASA officials wrote in a statement last week.