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Russian Mission Control to make another correction of ISS orbit

May 04, 2012, 2:51 UTC+3
The height of the ISS orbit is declining by 150 - 200 meters daily under the influence of Earth’s gravity and other factors
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MOSCOW, May 4 (Itar-Tass) — Russia's Mission Control Centre (MCC) on Friday will make another adjustment of the ISS orbit to prepare it for the docking with a Soyuz manned spacecraft. The first correction was made on April 25.

“This operation is made to ensure optimal conditions for rapprochement and docking with the ISS of the Soyuz TMA-04M manned spacecraft, the launch of which is scheduled for May 15,” MCC sources told Tass.

The main propulsion force during the manoeuvre will be the engines of the third European Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) cargo spacecraft Edoardo Amaldi that was docked to the Russian Service Module Zvezda in late March. The engines of the Zvezda module and the Russian cargo spacecraft Progress M-15M, which is at the nadir port of the Pirs docking module, will ensure the space station’s orientation.

The ignition of the engines is scheduled for 12:37 am, Moscow time, the MCC specified. During 1,220.8 seconds of the engines’ work, the ISS will be raised by some 5.2 kilometers, getting a thrust of three meters per second.

The ISS orbit correction manoeuvres are usually carried out in order to bring the station to the desired orbit for docking with cargo or manned spacecraft, to create conditions for successful landing, and to avoid collision with space junk.

The height of the ISS orbit is declining by 150 - 200 meters daily under the influence of Earth’s gravity and other factors.

The fourth digital series Soyuz TMA-04M spacecraft will take to orbit Russian cosmonauts Gennady Padalka, Sergei Revin and NASA astronaut Joseph Acaba. The docking is scheduled for May 17.

The ISS crew now is Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko, NASA astronaut Donald Pettit and ESA astronaut Andre Kuipers.

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