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RF Mission Control Centre lifts ISS orbit

April 01, 2012, 2:24 UTC+3

ATV-3 delivered 6.6 tonnes of supplies to the ISS

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MOSCOW, April 1 (Itar-Tass) —— The Russian Mission Control Centre has made a test correction of the ISS orbit on Sunday to make sure everything works properly on board Edoardo Amaldi /ATV-3/, which joined the orbital complex on Thursday.

Itar-Tass learned from the Mission Control Centre that "the test manoeuvre to correct the orbit went normally." It was carried out in an automatic mode, with two engines of the European "truck" ATV-3, docked to Russia’s Zvezda service module. The orientation of the station in space was provided by engines of Zvezda and of the Russian Progress M-14M cargo spacecraft.

The engines started at 01:54 Moscow time, and worked for 411 seconds, the Mission Control Centre said. During that time, the average height of the orbit of the station, according to expert estimates, increased by about 1.7 kilometres and reached 389.8 kilometres. The average height - is a value adopted by ballistic specialists, which is an imaginary circular orbit, which period of revolution around the Earth is equal to the period of the stations’ revolution on the real elliptical orbit, the source said.

Russians Anton Shkaplerov, Anatoly Ivanishin, Oleg Kononenko, Americans Daniel Burbank, Donald Pettit and Dutchman Andre Kuipers, who are at the orbital station, had been warned in advance about the manoeuvre, conducted by a team from the ground. Participation in the correction operations of the cosmonauts on orbit is not required, so at that time they are were sleeping safely.

ATV-3 delivered 6.6 tonnes of supplies to the ISS, including 3 tonnes of fuel, 2.2 tonnes of clothes, food, sanitary and hygienic means, equipment and parcels for the crew.

Since its first voyage in April 2008, the Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) has been an indispensable ISS supply ship. ATV-2, launched in February 2011, is currently attached to ISS.

Approximately every 17 months, ATV carries 6.6 tonnes of cargo to the station 400 km above Earth. An onboard high-precision navigation system automatically guides the ATV on a rendezvous trajectory towards the ISS, where it docks with the station's Russian service module Zvezda.

The ATV then remains attached as a pressurised and integral part of the station for up to six months. After that it detaches and reenters Earth's atmosphere, during which it breaks up and burns, together with up to 6.4 tonnes of waste from the station.

The ISS falls by 150-200 metres daily due to Earth’s gravitation and other factors.


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