On Thursday at 1:43 PM Arizona time, a Russian spacecraft carried a three-man crew to the International Space Station (ISS).
The spacecraft arrived at the ISS just under 6 hours later at 7:28 PM.
Normally this trip takes 2 days!
NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy and Russian Cosmonauts Pavel Vinogradov and Alexander Misurkin were the first humans to take this much shorter route to the ISS.
The route was tested with cargo ship flights, which brought supplies to the ISS.
Vinogradov pointed out the advantages of the quicker flight in a pre-flight news conference.
"Vinogradov added that the shorter flight path would reduce the crew's fatigue and allow astronauts to be in top shape for the docking. He said that it takes about five hours for the human body to start feeling the impact of zero gravity, so the quicker flight would allow the crew to more easily adapt to weightlessness in much roomier space station interiors." writes Dmitry Lovetsky with the Associated Press.
The shorter flight time was possible because of the retirement of the space shuttle.
The American space shuttles required the ISS to be at a lower orbit for space shuttle docking.
But with the retirement of the space shuttles the ISS was able to move to a higher orbit that allowed the shorter route.
7831 N. Business Park Drive