RSC Energia (part of Roscosmos) has announced plans to conduct a super-fast mission to the International Space Station (ISS) in June. Rafail Murtazin, head of the Ballistics Department of the Rocket and Space Corporation, noted that a team of experts will prepare conditions for a four-orbit rendezvous profile of “Progress MS-20” and in its backdrop will work out the elements of a one-orbit profile. Murtazin proposed such a profile in a publication in Acta Astronautica in 2020.
To date, three profiles of rendezvous of Russian spacecraft with the ISS have been successfully implemented. These are, in particular, the two-day and four-orbit programs: the latter involves a flight duration of about six hours. Since 2018, the fast two-orbit profile, which allows spacecraft to reach the ISS in about three and a half hours, has been used.
The super-fast profile involves only one orbit, and the flight in this case takes only about two hours. However, the implementation of such launches will require compliance with a number of stringent ballistic conditions on the relative position of the spacecraft and the station.
According to TASS, the elements of the super fast flight to the ISS will be worked out this summer during the launch of cargo spacecraft, Progress MS-20. The launch of this spacecraft is scheduled for June.
“The launch of the Progress MS-20 will be preceded by a four-orbit rendezvous and we will work on the elements of a single-orbit rendezvous,” the RSC Energia representative said.
In December 2021, Dmitry Rogozin, general director of Roscosmos, stated during a conversation with cosmonauts that one-orbit flights to the ISS will begin “soon”.