Europe’s ATV-2 Johannes Kepler will perform the last task of its current mission by raising the orbit of the International Space Station (ISS) to 382 kilometers (237 miles) on Friday, Russia’s Mission Control said.
The ATV-2 space freighter is scheduled to undock from the orbital station on June 21 and burn up as it re-enters the Earth’s atmosphere, disposing of unneeded items from the space station.
The spacecraft will fire its engines at 08.21 p.m. Moscow time [16.21 GMT] for 27 minutes to move the ISS up 6.8 kilometers (4.2 miles) to a new working orbit.
Johannes Kepler arrived at the ISS on February 24, bringing about 7 tons of supplies to the station and the six-men crew.
European ATV space freighters have proved to be vital for ISS logistics as they can carry up to 7.5 metric tons of supplies, or three times more than Russia’s Progress cargo spacecraft.
In addition, ATV’s powerful thrusters are used to readjust the ISS orbit to ensure safe docking with arriving spacecraft.