MOSCOW, January 14 (RIA Novosti) – The orbit of the International Space Station will be raised Thursday by nearly two kilometers to ensure safe docking of a Russian cargo spacecraft in February, a spokesman for Russia’s mission control center said.
"The thrusters will be fired up at 5:54 a.m. Moscow time [01:54 GMT] and will remain switched on for 493 seconds, giving the station a boost of 1.12 meters per second,” the official said.
“As a result, the average altitude of the ISS will be increased by 1,940 meters,” he said.
The spokesman said the orbit adjustment will be carried out to compensate for Earth’s gravity and to facilitate the docking of the Progress M-22M resupply spacecraft scheduled for launch from the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan on February 5.
The Progress M-20M space freighter, which arrived at the ISS in July, will undock from the orbital station on February 3 and depart on a scientific mission under the Izgib experiment, which studies how vibrations aboard a spacecraft affect the installed hardware.
With a record of more than 130 launches since 1972 and only one failure, Progress-family freighters remain the backbone of the Russian space cargo fleet. In addition to their main mission as cargo spacecraft, they are used to adjust the ISS’s orbit and conduct scientific experiments.