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ISS orbit raised two km before Soyuz undocking for landing

September 14, 2012, 8:46 UTC+3
The landing of Soyuz TMA-04M, aboard which Padalka, Revin and Acaba will return to Earth, is planned for September 17
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MOSCOW, September 14 (Itar-Tass) — The Russian Mission Control Centre successfully conducted an operation to correct the ISS orbit on Friday.

The manoeuvre was carried out with the aim to create better conditions for the manned Soyuz to land safely in the planned area and for the next Soyuz to dock with the station.

The operation was conducted automatically with the use of the engines of the European cargo craft ATV-3 Edoardo Amaldi docked to the Russian module Zvezda. The engines of the module and the Russian Progress M-16M cargo craft ensured the orientation of the station.

The engines were started at 07:15 Moscow time and worked for 536 seconds. The ISS went up about two km. The average altitude of the orbit is about 424.8 km.

Russians Gennady Padalka, Sergei Revin, Yuri Malenchenko, NASA astronauts Joseph Acaba, Sunita Williams and Japanese Space Agency astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, who are aboard the station, were informed about the planned manoeuvre controlled from the earth. The ISS crew participation is not needed in orbit correction operations, and so, they were sleeping at the time.

Such manoeuvres are conducted to bring the station to the needed point for docking with cargo or manned spacecraft and ensuring better conditions for spacecraft landing. Sometimes, the orbit is changed to prevent collision of the station with space debris -- small meteorites and fragments of old satellites and spacecraft.

The landing of Soyuz TMA-04M, aboard which Padalka, Revin and Acaba will return to Earth, is planned for September 17.

Soyuz TMA-06M, which will carry the crew of the next expedition to the ISS, is planned to take off on October 15 and dock with the space station on October 17.

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