The Progress M-016M cargo craft flying to the International Space Station (ISS) was launched at 1935GMT on 1 August aboard a Soyuz U launch vehicle flying out of Baikonur Cosmodrome, near Tyuratam, Kazakhstan.The spacecraft then used a faster multi-manoeuvre rendezvous approach method, docking during its fourth orbit rather than the usual 34th. This technique, which has a very narrow launch window lasting only seconds, saves around 45 hours of time between launch and docking. Progress M-016M docked at Pirs Module of the ISS at 0118 GMT on 2 August, less than six hours after launch.
The new method does have application to manned spacedflight. In cutting the rendezvous time so dramatically, this new six-hour rendezvous technique, if used by commercial crew vessels, will allow them not to have to carry toilet equipment which would normally be needed under the usual 51 hour rendezvous method.