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MOSCOW, February 17. /TASS/. The Progress M-29M cargo spacecraft has adjusted the average altitude of the International Space Station (ISS) in orbit, raising it by almost 2 km, the Mission Control Center (MCC) outside Moscow told TASS on Wednesday.
"The correction maneuver has been successfully completed," an MCC representative said.
He said the adjustment was needed for the upcoming station’s docking with the Soyuz TMA-20M manned spacecraft that will be launched on March 19 to bring to the ISS the next expedition crew - Russian cosmonauts Alexei Ovchinin and Oleg Skripochka and NASA astronaut Jeffrey Williams.
According to calculations of the MCC ballistic service, the recent correction maneuver was to raise the average altitude of the station’s orbit by 1.8 km - to 404.4 km.
The ISS orbital altitude drops gradually over time due to the Earth's gravitational pull and atmospheric drag. Periodic re-boosts adjust the ISS orbit.
At present, Russian cosmonauts Mikhail Korniyenko, Sergei Volkov and Yuri Malenchenko, US astronauts Scott Kelly and Timothy Kopra, a well as UK astronaut Timothy Peake are working on the ISS.
The crew aboard the International Space Station is getting ready for a busy traffic month set to begin March 1, NASA reported on Tuesday. Meanwhile, advanced microgravity research and spacesuit work continues inside the orbital lab.
One-Year crew members Scott Kelly and Mikhail Korniyenko are preparing to come home March 1 after 340 days in space. Flight Engineer Sergei Volkov will return with them inside the Soyuz TMA-18M spacecraft. Then on March 19, NASA astronaut Jeff Williams and cosmonauts Oleg Skripochka and Alexei Ovchinin will launch aboard the Soyuz TMA-20M spacecraft and join Expedition 47. Kelly harvested Zinnia plants Monday grown for the Veggie experiment as scientists validate the botany gear to determine the effectiveness of growing plants in space. The Expedition 46 commander also scrubbed spacesuit cooling loops Tuesday after inspecting another spacesuit for leaks Monday.