The four-orbit scheme that takes about six hours is currently considered as the shortest in manned flights
Specialists of Russia’s Energia Space Rocket Corporation have started training cosmonauts for a record fast flight to the International Space Station (ISS) under an ultra-short scheme with a crewed spacecraft to reach the orbital outpost in three hours, a source in the domestic space industry told TASS on Monday.
Head of Russia’s federal space agency Roscosmos Dmitry Rogozin "has instructed the Energia Space Rocket Corporation to prepare the first crew for a flight under a super-fast scheme to the ISS where the spacecraft makes just two orbits before docking with the station. The Corporation has already started the cosmonauts’ training," the source said.
Today the four-orbit scheme that takes about six hours is considered as the shortest in manned flights.
Roscosmos earlier tested the two-orbit scheme on Progress resupply ships. In particular, a Soyuz-2.1a carrier rocket lifted off from Site No. 31 of the Baikonur spaceport on July 23 to orbit a Progress MS-15 spacecraft, which docked to the ISS in a record three hours and 18 minutes: no one had flown to orbital stations at such a speed before. Roscosmos Chief Rogozin uploaded a video of this space launch on his YouTube blog.
The Roscosmos chief earlier said that a Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft due to travel to the ISS with three crewmembers in October might use the two-orbit scheme.
The two-day scheme is the classical pattern of flights to orbital stations. The basic advantage of short flight schemes developed by Roscosmos is that the crew has to adapt to zero gravity already aboard the space station and not in the spacecraft’s limited space where it is also quite cold, among other things.