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Russian spacecraft raises orbit of international space station

February 26, 2015, 12:35 UTC+3 MOSCOW
The station’s orbit is adjusted regularly to ensure safe docking of the freighters and manned spacecraft as well as to avoid possible collision with space junk
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© EPA/NASA/HANDOUT

MOSCOW, February 26. /TASS/. Russia’s Progress M-26M space carrier, docked with the International Space Station (ISS), raised the space station’s orbit by approximately 1.1 kilometers as it switched on its engines for less than five minutes on Thursday afternoon, the Russian Mission Control said.

According to the Mission Control, the maneuver began at 12:16 p.m. Moscow time [9:16 GMT] and boosters of the Progress M-26M were active for 284.7 seconds. The orbit of the space station was raised as a result of the maneuver to 402.3 kilometers (250 miles).

A source in the rocket and space industry told TASS on Wednesday that another adjustment of the ISS orbit could also take place on February 28 to avoid station’s possible collision with space debris, but the final decision on this correction would be made on February 26.

Russia’s Progress M-26M cargo spacecraft blasted off to the ISS from the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan on February 17 and docked with the station six hours later.

The spacecraft delivered to for the station’s crew water, food supplies and different equipment worth an overall weight of 2,370 kilograms (5,225 lbs). The current ISS crew comprises Russian cosmonauts Alexnder Samokutyayev, Yelena Serova and Anton Shkaplerov, NASA astronauts Barry Willmore and Terry Virts and European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti.

The station’s orbit is adjusted regularly to ensure safe docking of the freighters and manned spacecraft as well as to avoid possible collision with space debris.

After fulfilling their missions to the ISS, space freighters are usually deorbited and burnt in the atmosphere on their way to the Earth. Remains of spacecraft, which did not burn, are usually buried in the remote area of the Pacific Ocean.

The non-navigation area at the issue is also referred to as the "spaceship cemetery" and is located not far from the Christmas Island. This is a designated area, where numerous spacecraft, including the defunct Soviet space station Mir, were sunk.

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