MOSCOW, December 16 (RIA Novosti) – The International Space Station’s orbit has been increased by almost 2.5 kilometers in a test of the station’s new emergency debris avoidance system, Mission Control told RIA Novosti.
The new system, known as the Pre-Determined Debris Avoidance Maneuver (PDAM), addresses the situation where dangerous debris is detected with little advance warning, down to as little as three hours from the approach.
The reboost was originally scheduled for Thursday, but had been postponed “after encountering some challenges latching down one of the Beta Gimbal Assemblies that rotate the station’s huge solar arrays,” NASA said on its website.
“Now scheduled for Sunday, the test of the operation, which increases the efficiency and ease of reboosting the station’s altitude, will also place the station in the optimal position for next week’s launch and docking of the Soyuz carrying three additional crew members,” it said.
The emergency avoidance maneuver was performed by the engines aboard the Russian Progress freighter docked at the station. The engines can be fired as little as 140 minutes before a dangerous debris approach.
Soyuz TMA-07M, scheduled to lift off from the Baikonur space center on December 19, will deliver Russian cosmonaut Roman Romanenko, Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, and US astronaut Tom Marshburn to the ISS. Docking is scheduled for December 21.
They will join Russian cosmonauts Oleg Novitsky and Yevgeny Tarelkin, as well as NASA astronaut Kevin Ford.
International Space Station Expedition 34 will perform two spacewalks under the Russian and US space programs.
During their 147-day mission, the new ISS crew members will also take part in docking and unloading six spacecraft: four Russian Progress cargo spacecraft, Europe’s ATV-4 space freighter and US SpX-2 spacecraft.