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Russian Cargo Ship Raises Space Station’s Orbit

TheInternational Space Station (ISS) reached a higher orbit Wednesday after abrief engine burn by a docked cargo ship.

TheRussian-built Progress19 cargo ship, berthed at the aft end of the station's Zvezda servicemodule, fired its engines for about 13.5 minutes to push the orbital complexeight statute miles (12 kilometers) up into an orbit 224 statute miles (360kilometers) above Earth, NASA officials said.

Themaneuver places the station in the proper position to meet the next ISS crew, Expedition13 commander Pavel Vinogradov, flight engineer Jeffrey Williams and MarcosPontes, Brazil's first astronaut, they added.

TheExpedition 13 crew and Pontes launch toward the ISS on March 29 EST. Expedition12 commander Bill McArthur and flight engineer Valery Tokarev are currentlyserving a six-month mission aboard the space station.

Progress19's engine burn follows a similar maneuver by a second cargo ship - Progress20 berthed at the station's Pirs docking compartment - on Feb. 13. Thatearlier engine marked the first time a Progress ship raised the ISS orbit fromthe Pirs port, NASA officials said.

McArthurand Tokarev are packing Progress 19 with trash and unneeded items with plans tojettison the disposable spacecraft on March 3. The cargo ship is expected toburn up in the Earth's atmosphere shortly after.

  • Complete Coverage: ISS Expedition 12
  • Complete Coverage: ISS Expedition 13

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Tariq is the Editor-in-Chief of and joined the team in 2001, first as an intern and staff writer, and later as an editor. He covers human spaceflight, exploration and space science, as well as skywatching and entertainment. He became's Managing Editor in 2009 and Editor-in-Chief in 2019. Before joining, Tariq was a staff reporter for The Los Angeles Times covering education and city beats in La Habra, Fullerton and Huntington Beach. He is also an Eagle Scout (yes, he has the Space Exploration merit badge) and went to Space Camp four times as a kid and a fifth time as an adult. He has journalism degrees from the University of Southern California and New York University. To see his latest project, you can follow Tariq on Twitter.