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MOSCOW, July 04. /ITAR-TASS/. Russian Mission Control Centre stated on Friday that a maneuver to increase the average altitude of the International Space Station (ISS) flight orbit was planned on July 17. The ISS orbit will be lifted at 5 am Moscow time (02:00 UTC) on Thursday, July 17 by engines of Zvezda module. Orbit adjustment is aimed at optimizing the docking of Progress M-24M space freighter, which will be launched July 24 at 1:42 am Moscow time (22:42 UTC, July 23) from Baikonur spaceport.
Progress M-24M will replace space freighter Progress M-23M, which will undock from the ISS on July 22. The cargo spacecraft will be sunken in the Pacific on August 1.
Space freighters are used frequently as orbital laboratories. Progress space freighters placed into orbit Russian and German mini-satellites and examined possible use of ejection seat system to save the crew of Russian space shuttle Buran. Space freighters carried out the experiment called Izgib (“curve”) to study the influence of on-board systems functioning modes on ISS flight conditions. Several space freighters are equipped with a special capsule, which had brought up to 60 kg of cargoes back to the Earth. Progress M-13M was used for the first time before sinking to test a special launch container, which separated successfully from micro-satellite Chibis-M. In 2003, Progress M1-10 after its undocking from the ISS has been monitoring the areas of natural disasters and ecological catastrophes with special cameras.
Progress M-23M that is currently on a space mission will carry out an experiment called Radar-Progress to determine specific features of the ionosphere, which are emerging in operation of space freighter engines.