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Russian FCC to adjust ISS orbit for arrival of next spaceship

August 15, 2012, 2:42 UTC+3

The engines of the third European cargo spacecraft of the ATV series

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MOSCOW, August 15 (Itar-Tass) — Russia's Flight Control Center (FCC) is to adjust the International Space Station (ISS) orbit on Wednesday so as to create favourable conditions for the landing of the outbound manned spaceship Soyuz in a preset area and for the space station's docking with next inbound Soyuz spaceship.

An official at the FCC, which is located outside Moscow, has told Itar-Tass, "The purpose of the operation is to shape the Station's orbit prior to the Soyuz spaceships' descent and the forthcoming arrival".

The engines of the third European cargo spacecraft of the ATV series ("Edoardo Amaldi"), docked with the Russian service module Zvezda (star), and those of the Russian resupply spacecraft Progress M-16M, which is positioned at the nadir docking assembly of the Pier module, will be the main driving force. The engines are to be ignited at 20:00,Moscow time, the FCC official specified. Within 1,876 seconds of their operaton, the ISS will rise by approximately 7.7 km.

ISS orbit adjusting maneuvers are usually carried out in order to bring the Station to a needed orbit for docking with an incoming resulpply spacecraft or a manned spaceship, to create conditions for a successful landing, as well as for evading space debris. The previous orbit adjusting operation was carried out on July 18, two weeks prior to the launch of the resupply spacecraft Progress M-16M. Every day, under the impact of terrestrial gravitational pull and other factors, the ISS orbit descends by 150-200 metres.

Currently working aboard the ISS are Russian cosmonauts Gennady Padalka, Sergei Revin, and Yuri Malenchenko, NASA astronauts Joseph Acaba and Sunita Williams, and Akihiko Hoshide, astronaut of the Japanese space agency JAXA.

The landing of the outbound Soyuz TMA-04M spaceship with Padalka and Revin on board is scheduled for September 17.

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