How Can Soyuz Reach The Space Station In Only 3 Hours?

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This week Soyuz MS17 set a space station record by going from launch to docking with the International Space Station in only 3 hours and 3 minutes, half the time that Soyuz used to take, and much faster than the day long approaches used by US spacecraft.
For Soyuz is has much shorter on orbit endurance compared to US spacecraft and is much less spacious than the US equivalents, incentivizing fast rendezvous trajectories.

Some of the papers I referenced in this video if you want to read more:
  1. Skeptical Bystander

    “how can Soyuz reach ISS in only 3 h?” – “they have small legroom” :)

  2. Виктор Фирсов

    B just spawned at the ISS, we had to rush it.

  3. Nathan Miller

    Love the shirt… I allways forget to do that lol staging and strut connectors every time lol

  4. Dmytro Picky

    there is actually amazing supercut of Padalka talking existential stuff when on the way to ISS . IDK if eng ver exists tho

  5. Robert California

    Dang! Scott has 1,13 million subs.

    Does replacing a decimal with a comma count as a pun? I ain’t rushin to find out.

  6. Natan Getschel

    Since you’ve entered the world of speed running, I expect you to come out with a Summoning Salt style history of speedrunning to the ISS video soon

  7. TocTeplv

    If you cant upgrade Soyuz for a leg room, you always can upgrade astronauts.

  8. Christian Sampson

    Lol. I will now see this launch as a speedrun forever because of you, Scott.

    Also, nice pun.

  9. Patchuchan

    There was no reason to rush with the Shuttle even though it probably could do a 2 orbit rendezvous.
    At least in Orbiter sim it’s possible though it requires launching exactly on time.

  10. George

    “That’s China’s job” 😂

  11. Buddy Adams

    Is that an avocado with Kerbal eyes on it?

  12. David Analyst

    and if they had enough beer, Scott Manley would sit in the capsule for a year before docking!!

  13. Henry Atkinson

    ISS speedrun

    ISS speedrun

  14. Madhulika Madhu

    6:30 don’t be fooled, they indeed use ker Kerbal Engineer Redux codes

    But perhaps mechjeb is easier

  15. Dumb Comment

    Going space station requires less time than me trying to get out of bed

  16. Minigui98

    Who needs legroom when you can listen to some heavy hardbass and drift all the way up to the ISS in 3 hours?

  17. Daniel Hoven

    “According to the smart people”
    Definitely stealing that line…

  18. Kevin Shepardson

    You ought to do a mini-tour at some point of the various rockets, ship models, and other doodads you keep behind you at some point.

  19. Ryan Provonsha

    (Leans in and whispers) “…fly safe!” :O Should I be worried about something there Scott? :D Thank you for this, this is fascinating and makes sense of many of the news reports I’ve heard about dockings with stations. :)

  20. jocked07

    “that’s china’s job!” HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

  21. Julian S

    I need more of these videos. They are a welcomed break from the political craziness.

  22. Michael La Fayette

    It certainly takes me longer than that to rendezvous, even with Mechjeb 😂

  23. Kristijan Cerovski

    “Hello, it’s Scott Manley here. My friends, it just keeps HAPPENING.”

  24. Jasc Tomm

    Is there anyway to KSP tell me the “perfect time” to rendezvous directly to the station?

  25. Pandu POLUAN

    “… that would drop rocket stages on China, and apparently that’s China’s job.”

    I nearly spurted out my drink 🤣🤣🤣

  26. Hamburger Hamburger

    Me docking in 3 seconds:

  27. rsanjur


    now we gotta wait for thay guy that call us ‘Absolute Legends’

  28. Alexander Mashin

    Since 2002, “Kursk” is manufactured in Izhevsk, since 2016, without Ukrainian components.

  29. NoName

    5:58 another day another time to correct russian
    it’s not “curse”, it’s “coors”, like in a word “cooking”

  30. Photon

    ok but i can use KSP to get there in about a minute

  31. The federal republic of E

    Soyuz dock% no TAS glitchless (world record)

  32. CinemaClips

    3:53 and apparently that is Chin’s job. What a burn.

  33. Rafael Nathan

    I would be interested in your input on blue origin’s landing technology

  34. Jeffrey Bue

    I’ve wondered for a long time about these short trips to the ISS and I’m so glad you made this video

  35. Tom Morningstar

    You have a knack for valid simplification. We mortals appreciate your efforts.

  36. Orella Minx

    0:34 Hey Google, how do I unsubscribe and permanently block someone on YouTube.

  37. Brijesh Singh

    SpaceX: I docked within a day
    Souz: Hold our vodka comarade

  38. Clive Mitchell

    How simple would it be if the ISS were in a circular equatorial orbit and launches were from the equator, e.g. east Brazil or Kenya? Identical launch windows every 90 minutes (weather dependent).

  39. Eduardo Felipe Ratzersdor

    Was checking your channel every hour waiting for a new video lol. Space rocks and your channel is definitely at the top. Have plans to work at the industry, wish me luck

  40. Calvin Maclure

    ” dropping rocket stages on China is China’s job”. OOOOOOOOOHHH DAYUM!!!

  41. Les Hemmings

    “… still lacks Lego!”
    Well, I s’pose there’s less time to build anything anyway. In the old days with all those phase orbits they had plenty of time.
    (Les daydreams of Lego in microgravity)!

  42. Born Again Maker

    I thought the Progress impact was due to a Kurs module that had been previously used failing.

  43. Alejandro VG

    My wife just shouted from another room: “HOW MANY VIDEOS THAT GUY HAS DONE! I’m sick of his voice”. I dunno if your channel it is good for our relationship, Scott

  44. Hamburger Hamburger

    They literally backwards long jumped to the station.
    Three, two, one.
    Ok, we are now docking.

  45. Cereal Dreamer

    They say “the floor is capitalism” to Soyuz and it goes up faster

  46. Повар

    When i was studying in university, Rafael Murtasin (the author of this ultrashort docking scheme) only dreamed about it)
    fun fact: he is against LES.

  47. Bruce Henry

    3:45 – LOL dropping rocket stages on China is china’s job!

  48. John Knapp

    When the crew first boarded the Soyuz they had planned for 2 days, but then saw the “Out of Order” sign on the Toilet. 🤣

  49. Ancientreapers

    0:23 My question is why is that little dish antenna looking thing on the space station spinning like a banshee?

  50. TotalCowage

    Nice to see some actual coverage of Russian achievements, without resorting too (to much) jingoism or SpaceX worship for a change; in particular that Soyuz does have the space to relax, but that everything is a compromise between time, adapting to zero gravity, and efficiency rather than just the tired old jokes about Russian technology. Ars Technica in particular is becoming unreadable, and the wider political situation is toxifying science in appalling ways, so more coverage like this which just focuses on the achievement itself, and not trying to score (too many) cheap points as if science was a sporting event would be welcome…

  51. jull1234

    What would it take to allow crew dragon/falcon 9 to achieve the same results?

  52. gregs1020

    laughed at “apparently, that’s China’s job”. lmao Scott you are killing it. thank you bud!

  53. NicoD

    Gotta love that 60’s soviet engineering. They’re beating modern F1’s with a 60’s soviet Lada.

  54. Pavel Selivanov

    Russia stopped using Ukrainian parts for Kurs system since 2016.

  55. Jonathan Nelson

    Now I feel less bad about taking a few dozen orbits in Space Flight Simulator to achieve a rendezvous.

  56. Mako-kun

    6:18 ah yes the TORU “manual” docking system. Russia basically gave cosmonauts a couple joysticks and a blury CRT display in the 90s and told them to have fun (they did have telemetry data for docking on screen). These days TORU (probably upgraded) is still in use as a backup to Kurs. Hopefully the ones in charge are good with joysticks.

  57. Alfredo González

    I guess its good to practice these quick rendezvous in case of an emergency at the ISS.

  58. Jordan Davis

    Please please please would you “accidentally” mispronounce your name during sign-off??? “This is manly Scott, fly safe” it would be great!!

  59. johan

    Any plans for a video about using teabags to find a leak on the ISS and using “Grey Tape” to fix it temporarily?

  60. Joe Schmuckatelli

    For reference Bob and Doug’s trip to ISS took 22 hrs iirc

  61. MindedRobin

    I wonder what glitches were used for this speed run

  62. Paul Haynes

    Love the new, rather menacing ‘fly safe’! Also, love the fact that there are no visible YouTube awards behind Scott. If you’re good, there’s no need to have to prove how good you are…

  63. Jeff Borders

    It’s not impressive until they do the Kessel run in less than 12 parsecs and don’t yell at me that it doesn’t make any sense.

  64. Jason Du Ban

    Hazard-ish or Stratzenblitz will beat it within a week. Hard Mode is SRB only.

  65. samsonguy10k

    It’s rather awesome on how dependable the Soyuz has become, as well as upgradable. I guess that is an achievement the Russians can hold.
    This isn’t even the first time that Soyuz has beat speed records in going from launch to rendezvous with the ISS, and such has challenged me to emulate it in KSP. I’ve achieved orbital rendezvous with a target within one orbit. It helps the target did have a simple circular orbit over the equator, unlike the ISS, but still made me feel good.

  66. Jay

    Russian rockets: “They took our jobs!”

  67. Kineth1

    3:47 I would say that Scott burned China bad, but apparently that’s China’s job.

  68. Sacto1654

    It does help that the orbital inclination of ISS was designed specifically to accommodate the Baikonur Cosmodrome launch sites. As such, that makes such quick dockings possible.

  69. WeBeGood

    Essentially, the Space Station is doing a phasing maneuver many days ahead of time so the Capsule doesn’t have to spend the time phasing. The Progress actually did a de-boost burn to bring the Space Station down in altitude for Soyuz MS17 rendezvous. I would be surprised if the Russian only make plane adjustments with the second stage of their Rocket. It is much more efficient to start the dogleg at liftoff, than to wait until second stage.

  70. Yassin Almohtadi

    the only logical step after this is doing a zero orbit rendezvous

  71. Dino Schachten

    Yep, dropping rocket stages on China is definitely China’s job. Best true statement here. :D

  72. Bill Kerr

    The #1 feature I look for when I’m shopping spacecraft is abundant legroom. After that I look for a good air conditioner and plenty of cupholders.

  73. Kevin Spencer

    Was wondering if Commercial Crew would exercise this option. Best they’ve done so far has been DM-2 at 18 hours. Shuttle Orbiters were 2-day phasing.

  74. tramvaychik

    That last punch line ‘LEGROOM’ made me smile.

  75. Adub 1300

    “They would drop rocket stages on China and apparently that is china’s job” I literally said “oh hell yeah he went there!” Hahaha

  76. Mike Alesso

    I was wondering about this when I heard about the speed run. Happy to have a great explanation from Scott pop up in my notifications.

  77. Admiral Bob

    About 40 mins faster than I can drive 250ish miles up north. Not bad Not bad.

  78. The Bacca That Chews

    Summoning Salt speedrun documentary in 5…4…3…

  79. My Channel

    Now we only need to find an infinite fuel glitch

  80. Xavier Gilmer

    ISS docking speedrun any% glitchess (wr attempt)

  81. NWBackcountry

    Everybody loves accurate orbital insertions, especially with no leg room.

  82. WinterHell

    “Russia can’t drop rockets on Chinese villages. That’s China’s job.” 😂😂😂🤣🤣

  83. GeneralPurposeVehicl

    Next challenge: a direct ascent to the ISS in under 1 hour. Bonus points if done in a properly reusable SSTO.

  84. Brian

    Soyuz Prime

  85. TDCtactical

    Hahahahaha i sprayed my drink all over… “Apparently it’s China’s Job” hahaha

  86. zimm4

    [12:38] – In Russian language, the idiom “stretch out legs” means “to die”. So it’s not a bad that you can’t stretch out your legs in a Soyuz spacecraft. Agree?

  87. Thomas Altorfer

    The Soyuz spaceship has been mankind’s only gateway to space five times already, and even now that it has competition from newcomers it still shows what i’ts capable of. Thumbs up!

  88. Nico D. Sun

    That’s quick enough to order a pizza from the ISS.

  89. Uncle Sandwich

    The Russian space craft seem to be rushin’… “This is not a pun.”

    You damn well know I laughed at this anyways, Scott!

  90. InventorZahran

    “Onboard systems that can now calculate the orbit in real-time…”

    *Boots up KSP with MechJeb*

  91. Dennis W

    Literally faster than public transit could take me to work

  92. Dean Su

    KSP players with overengineered RCS and zero regard for Kerbal safety: Pathetic.

  93. dorbie

    That Progress MIR collision was human error. It was a manual docking system test, not an automated one. The incident is worthy of a video. The Cosmonaut remote piloting it didn’t have a good visual from progress to MIR they were using the remote feed for guide it) so he just kept thrusting towards the station and built up excessive delta velocity, they’d also disabled the radar because it might have caused problems with the visual monitor on a previous attempt. They attributed it to inadequate training, because he’d never successfully completed a dock during training and had failed during a previous attempt, which speaks to bigger issues. But I can’t understate how questionable that cosmonaut’s actions were and just how half-assed their entire plan was.

  94. Enthusiastic Zestful Vill

    was about to sleep but alright lets get educated on matters of spacecraft docking.

  95. CyberSam

    ISS docking speedrun any%

  96. CKOD

    China doesn’t like their towns being doused in LOX and Kerosene, when they could douse them with nitric acid and UDMH instead.

  97. Gehteuch Nixan

    TL;DR: They installed the latest version of Mechjeb

  98. Freak80MC

    “That would drop rocket stages on China, and apparently, that is China’s job.” Scott Manley now banned in China :D

  99. Photonic Pizza

    “That would drop rocket stages on China, and apparently, that is China’s job.” That had me howling.

  100. MuitoDaora

    MechJeb can do it within the first orbit.

Comments are closed.