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Russian spacecraft raises ISS orbit

August 31, 2015, 12:58 UTC+3 MOSCOW
The orbit height has been adjusted for the forthcoming docking of Russia’s Soyuz TMA-18M manned spacecraft with the ISS
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MOSCOW, August 31. /TASS/. Russia’s Mission Control Center (MCC) outside Moscow has raised the International Space Station (ISS) orbit using engines of the Progress M-28M resupply vehicle, the press service of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) told TASS on Monday.

"The orbit raising maneuver was conducted by the Progress M-28M cargo spacecraft’s engines," the agency said.

The press service said that the spacecraft engines worked for 495 seconds, giving the station an impulse of 0.55 meters per second. The maneuver lifted the station’s orbit by 1 kilometer and now the ISS orbit’s height is 401 kilometers on the average.

The orbit height has been adjusted for the forthcoming docking of Russia’s Soyuz TMA-18M manned spacecraft with the ISS.

The ISS orbit adjustment maneuvers are usually carried out in order to bring the station to the desired orbit for docking with cargo or manned spacecraft, to create conditions for a successful landing, as well as to avoid collision with space debris. The ISS orbit gradually loses its altitude - several dozen metres daily under the influence of Earth’s gravity and other factors.

The Soyuz that will on September 2 blast off from the Baikonur Space Center will carry to the orbit Russian cosmonaut Sergey Volkov, European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Andreas Mogensen and Kazakhstan’s cosmonaut Aidyn Aimbetov.

According to previous reports, the Soyuz spaceship will head to the ISS under a two-day travel scheme instead of an expected six-hour one. Roscosmos explained the decision by security concerns.

The current crew of the International Space Station comprises Russian cosmonauts Gennady Padalka, Mikhail Korniyenko and Oleg Kononenko, US astronauts Scott Kelly and Kjell Lindgren and Japanese astronaut Kimiya Yui.

On Friday (August 28), the crew of Russia’s Soyuz TMA-16M spaceship successfully re-docked the spacecraft from the Poisk module of the ISS to the station’s Zvezda module. The re-docking operation was carried out with the assistance of Mission Control Center specialists and broadcast on the Roscosmos website. "The Soyuz TMA-16M spacecraft was re-docked from the docking port of the Poisk small research module to the docking port of the Zvezda service module by the crew comprising Gennady Padalka, Mikhail Korniyenko and Scott Kelly in the manual mode," Mission Control said.

The transfer hatches between the spaceship and the ISS were closed at 07:00 Moscow time (04:00 GMT) and the crew started the re-docking operation at 10:11 Moscow time (07:11 GMT), after which the spacecraft successfully docked with the Zvezda module.

Now the docking port of the Poisk small research module is ready to receive Russia’s Soyuz TMA-18M spacecraft scheduled to take off from the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan on September 2.

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