MOSCOW, April 4 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's Mission Control on Wednesday readjusted the orbit of the International Space Station (ISS), raising it by 1 kilometer (0.6 miles) to ensure safe departure of crew members, a spokesman for the Russian space agency Roscosmos said.
Engines of Russia’s Progress M-17M, currently docked with the ISS, were switched on to perform the maneuver.
“The engines of the space freighter worked in the normal regime for the required period of 277.3 seconds, or slightly less than five minutes. The station received a boost of 0.6 meters per second, and, as a result, its orbit was raised by 1 km,” the spokesman said.
“The station was to be raised to 410.8 km (252.3 miles), but the precise altitude will be known later, when a team of ballistics completes all calculations,” he said.
Adjustments to the station's orbit are carried out regularly to compensate for the Earth's gravity and to facilitate the successful docking and undocking of spacecraft.
This time, the orbit readjustment was held to create the best conditions for the undocking of a Soyuz TMA-07M manned spacecraft and the subsequent docking of the Soyuz TMA-09M spacecraft.
The Soyuz TMA-07M, due to undock in mid-May, will bring back to Earth crew members Chris Hadfield of Canada, Roman Romanenko of Russia and Thomas Marshburn of the United States.
The Soyuz TMA-09M, to be launched from the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan on May 29, will take new crew members to the station - Fyodor Yurchikhin of Russia, Karen Nyberg of United States and Luca Parmitano of Italy.