ISS 2.7 KM TOO LOW IN ORBIT CORRECTION

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MOSCOW, November 17 (RIA Novosti) - The International Space Station reduced altitude by 2.7 kilometres in orbit correction, Alexander Kireyev said to Novosti. He is ballistic coordination team chief at Russia's Mission Control Centre.

"All ballistic calculations were made to a T-but the ISS came 2.7 kilometres down, all the same. We don't know why! It might be an engine or fuel supply failure," he assumes.

At present, the station has an average 358.2 km altitude, enough for safe Progress docking. The cargo craft will shortly make another of regular trips to the ISS, to be launched at the Baikonur space centre, Kazakhstan.

A disastrous magnetic storm was sending the station a daily 300 metres down all through last week, so an orbit correction was necessary. It started this afternoon, 17.12, Moscow time, on a scheduled arrangement, to take 548 seconds.

True, today's correction did not fully meet its goal, yet there is no reason for alarm, what with regular altitude corrections the ISS routine envisages, reassures Mr. Kireyev. The station gets 150 to 200 metres down a day with Earth gravitation. The big storm is over now, so the rate is resuming.

US astronaut Leroy Chiao and Russia's Salizhan Sharipov make the present-day permanent ISS crew.

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