Space Station Orbit to Be Raised Ahead of New Manned Mission

MOSCOW, March 5 (RIA Novosti) – The orbit of the International Space Station will be raised next week by 1.5 kilometers to ensure safe docking of a Russian manned spacecraft, a space industry source said Tuesday.

The thrusters on Russia’s Progress space freighter, currently docked with the ISS, will be fired up at 7:54 a.m. Moscow time [3:54 GMT] on March 13 and will work for 218 seconds, giving the station a boost of 0.49 meters per second, the source said.

As a result, the average altitude of the ISS, which currently vacillates between 412 and 430 kilometers, will be increased by 1,500 meters, the official said.

According to the source, the orbit adjustment will be carried out to compensate for Earth’s gravity and to facilitate the docking of the Soyuz TMA-12M spacecraft, scheduled for launch from the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan on March 26.

The Soyuz TMA-12M will bring two Russian cosmonauts and a NASA astronaut to the ISS.

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