MOSCOW, October 24 (RIA Novosti) - The orbit of the International Space Station (ISS) will be raised on Thursday by nearly one kilometer to ensure safe docking of Russia’s Soyuz piloted spacecraft with new crew members, a spokesman for the Russian space agency Roscosmos said.
Russia’s mission control center will adjust the ISS orbit by switching on thrusters of Europe’s ATV-4 “Albert Einstein” resupply spacecraft currently docked with the station.
"Thrusters of the European spacecraft will be started at 14:18 Moscow time [10:18 GMT] and will remain switched on for 256.6 seconds, giving the station a boost of 0.62 meters per second. As a result, the average altitude of the ISS will be increased by approximately 900 meters [29.5 feet],” the official said.
After its last mission in support of ISS operation, the European freighter will depart from the orbital outpost on October 28 to be “buried” in the Pacific in the beginning of November.
The spokesman said the orbit adjustment will be carried out to compensate for the Earth's gravity and to facilitate the upcoming docking of the Soyuz TMA-11M spacecraft, which will bring new crew members to the ISS in November.
JAXA astronaut Koichi Wakata, Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Tyurin and NASA astronaut Rick Mastracchio are scheduled to blast off on board the Soyuz on November 7 for a 190-day mission at the space station as part of Expedition 38/Expedition 39.
The docking is expected in about six hours after the launch.