The Russian M-20M cargo spacecraft successfully docked with the International Space Station, or ISS, less than six hours after being launched from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on an express trip during which it orbited the Earth four times, NASA said.

The unmanned cargo rocket completed its automatic docking maneuver at 10:26 p.m. Eastern Time Saturday at a distance of 418 kilometers (259 miles) above the west coast of South America.

The craft, which docked with the Pirs module, which is one part of the Russian portion of the ISS, was placed into orbit aboard a Russian Soyuz-U rocket that lifted off at 12:45 a.m. Moscow time.

The M-20M is ferrying water, oxygen, food and fuel to the ISS, along with equipment for experiments being carried out by the current residents of the orbital platform.

The ship is also carrying space suit repair kits after Italian astronauts Luca Parmitano was put at risk during a spacewalk when his suit developed an internal water leak.

The last cargo ship sent to the ISS - the Progress M-19M - was launched in late April and burned up in the atmosphere last Friday at the end of its mission. On its flight into space, it took two days to dock with the ISS after it developed problems in deploying one of its approach and docking antennae.

Russian cosmonauts Pavel Vinogradov, Alexandr Misurkin and Fyodor Yurchikhin, American astronauts Chris Cassidy and Karen Nyberg, and Parmitano make up the current crew on board the ISS. EFE