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ISS orbit raised by 2,3 km for docking with new Soyuz MS ship

The landing of the Soyuz TMA-20M spacecraft is planned for September 7

MOSCOW, August 24. /TASS/. The Progress MS-02 cargo spacecraft that is now docked to the International Space Station (ISS) has performed a maneuver to raise the ISS orbit ahead of the forthcoming docking with a new manned Soyuz MS ship that is to be launched on September 23, Russia’s Mission Control Center (MCC) told TASS on Wednesday.

"The Progress ship’s engines were ignited and worked for just more than 12 minutes to raise the station’s orbit by 2,3 kilometers to 404 kilometers. The maneuver passed normally," the MCC said.

According to the Mission Control, the maneuver was needed to create the ballistic conditions for the coming landing of the Souyz TMA-20M manned spacecraft and the following launch of the Soyuz MS-02 ship.

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.

The landing of the Soyuz TMA-20M spacecraft, the last in this series, is planned for September 7. The ship will return to Earth Russian cosmonauts Alexei Ovchinin and Oleg Skripochka, as well as NASA astronaut Jeffrey N. Williams.

The blastoff of the Soyuz MS-02 (second ship of a news series) is scheduled for September 23 from the Baikonur cosmodrome (Kazakhstan). This ship will bring to the ISS Russian cosmonauts Andrei Borisenko and Sergei Ryzhikov, as well as American astronaut Robert S. Kimbrough.