TheInternational Space Station (ISS) is in a higher orbit after a weekend boostfrom one of two unmanned cargo ships docked at the orbital platform.
ARussian-built Progress spacecraft fired its engines for eight minutes and 42seconds to raise the space station's orbit up to about 215 statute miles, anincrease of about one statute mile, NASA officials said. The maneuver will helpplace the ISS in position for the arrival of ISS Expedition13 commander Pavel Vinogradov, flight engineer Jeffrey Williams andBrazilian astronaut MarcosPontes in late March, they added.
Russian ISSflight controllers said the reboost maneuver, which occurred at 5:20 p.m. EST (2020GMT) on Feb. 11, also allowed them to test techniques to dodge space debris inorbit, according to the Interfax News Agency.
"Expertsfrom flight control have analyzed data collected Saturday night when engines ofa Progress resupply ship docked with ISS were test fired. The experiment wasconducted to check a technique for dodging space junk," Yevgeny Melnikov,head of the team responsible for the movements of the Russian segment of ISS toldInterfax.
TwoProgress vehicles are currently docked at the ISS, with Progress19 berthed at the aft end of the station's Zvezda service module while Progress20 sits at the Pirs docking components. The resupply ships carried freshfood, clothes and equipment to the station, which is currently home to ISSExpedition 12 commander Bill McArthur and flight engineer Valery Tokarev.
Progress 19is slated to be jettisoned from the station in early March, NASA officials said,adding that the Expedition 12 crew and Pontes will return to Earth in earlyApril.
- Complete Coverage: ISS Expedition 12
- Complete Coverage: ISS Expedition 13