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No ISS maneuver as space debris threat considered low — source

February 27, 2015, 10:55 UTC+3 MOSCOW
The next planned maneuver scheduled for March 3 will create an orbit optimal for returning three crew members to Earth on March 12
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MOSCOW, February 27. /TASS/. The International Space Station (ISS) will not maneuver to dodge space debris on Saturday, February 28, as Russian and US specialists designated the threat for the station as very low, a source in the space rocket industry told TASS on Friday.

"After completing the planned operation on correction of ISS orbit altitude on Thursday, the ballistic service of the Moscow-based Mission Control Center made calculations on space objects flying trajectories on the new orbit and came to a conclusion that the threat [of collision] is low. That is why the dodging maneuver proposed by the American side will not be made," the source said.

Russian specialists sent their calculations to American colleagues, and they agreed that unplanned maneuvers are not necessary.

The next planned maneuver is scheduled for March 3. It will create an orbit optimal for returning three crew members to Earth on March 12.

Three new International Space Station crews

Three new international crews for ISS were announced on February 13. "NASA [National Aeronautics and Space Administration] and its International Space Station partners have announced the crew members for three upcoming missions to the space station" beginning in 2016, the statement published on NASA’s official website says.

In accordance with the decision of a joint commission, Russian cosmonaut Anatoly Ivanishikn, US astronaut Kate Rubins and Japanese astronaut Takuya Onishi will go to the ISS in May 2016.

In September 2016, the mission to the ISS will include Russian cosmonauts Andrey Borisenko and Sergey Ryzhikov and US astronaut Shane Kimbrough. In November 2016, Russian Oleg Novitsky, US Peggy Whitson and European Space Agency (ESA) Thomas Pesquet will follow suit.

At the moment, the ISS crew consists of Russian cosmonauts Alexander Samokrutyaev, Elena Serova and Anton Shkaplerov, US astronauts Barry Wilmore and Terry Virts, and ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti.

Russia-US ISS cooperation

US plans to cooperate with Russia and other countries on the International Space Station (ISS) program at least for the next 10 years, NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) spokesman Allard Beutel told TASS on February 25.

Commenting on Russia’s space agency Roscosmos’ decision to approve using the station until 2024, Beutel said that earlier President Barack Obama’s Administration also announced its plans to jointly use the ISS until 2024.

Beutel stressed that NASA welcomes cooperation with foreign partners on ISS. The spokesman refused to comment on Roscosmos’ plans to create Russian orbital system on the basis of modules that can be undocked from the ISS. Moscow plans to suspend international use of the station in 10 years and use parts of the ISS Russian segment to construct its own orbital system.

Last year, US suspended cooperation with Russia in the space sphere because of the situation around Ukraine. The only exception was the ISS project, which American specialists consider to be a unique platform for scientific experiments and observations.

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