When Progress M-016M launches on 01 August the craft will conduct an experiment to dock with the International Space Station during its fourth orbit instead of the usual 34th orbit. This is expected to save around 45 hours on the normal flight profile used by previous Progress resupply craft. Once launched the craft will conduct four manoeuvers during orbits one and two and five or six manoeuvers during orbits three and four to achieve the rendezvous and docking during orbit four. This rapid rendezvous flight profile requires the Soyuz launch vehicle to be launched and achieve orbital insertion at an extremely precise time. If this experiment is successful this rapid rendezvous flight profile could then be used for subsequent Soyuz TMA launches reducing the amount of time the onboard crew of Cosmonauts and Astronauts are kept inside the cramped confines of the craft from two days to about six hours.
Progress resupply craft to test rapid rendezvous flight profile.
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