Space station's orbit is readjusted

Feb. 22, 2013 at 1:51 PM
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MOSCOW, Feb. 22 (UPI) -- The engines of a Russian space freighter docked with the International Space Station were fired to readjust the station's orbit Friday, officials said.

"The space freighter's engines were started as scheduled, at 14:34 Moscow time [5:34 a.m. EST]. As a result of the maneuver, the ISS orbit was raised by approximately 1 kilometer," a Roscosmos spokesman told RIA Novosti.

After the readjustment the space station's mean orbital altitude stood at 254.6 miles, the space agency said.

Adjustments to the station's orbit are carried out regularly to compensate for Earth's gravity because the space station loses an average 300 feet of altitude each day.

The adjustments also facilitate the docking and undocking of spacecraft, and are sometimes conducted to dodge space debris.

Friday's readjustment was to create the best conditions for the undocking of a Soyuz TMA-06M manned spacecraft that will return Russian cosmonauts Oleg Novitsky and Yevgeny Tarelkin and U.S. NASA astronaut Kevin Ford to Earth March 15.

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