The orbit of the International Space Station (ISS) will be raised by 3.7 kilometers (2.3 miles) on Friday, Russian Mission Control said on Thursday.
The readjustment is necessary to ensure the best conditions to dock Russia’s Soyuz TMA-21 piloted spacecraft and the U.S. Endeavor space shuttle.
“The maneuver will be conducted using the two main engines on board the European Space Agency’s Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV-2), named after Johannes Kepler,” the Mission Control said in a statement.
The ATV-2 docked with the ISS on February 24. It will stay in orbit for three months, and will be used mainly to adjust the station’s orbit.
Corrections to the space station’s orbit are conducted periodically before launches of Russian spacecraft and U.S. shuttles to compensate for the Earth’s gravity and to safeguard successful dockings.
Russia’s Soyuz TMA-21 is expected to travel to the ISS sometime in early April, while the U.S. Endeavor will blast off from Cape Canaveral on April 19.
MOSCOW, March 17 (RIA Novosti)