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Russia cancels ISS orbit correction before shuttle arrival

RIA Novosti

01/12/2006 11:43 MISSION CONTROL CENTER, December 1 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's Mission Control Center will not make an additional correction to the orbit of the International Space Station (ISS) following Thursday's abortive attempt, a Federal Space Agency spokesman said Friday.

The Center said Thursday an engine malfunction on the Progress M-58 cargo vehicle prevented the correction, which was planned as part of preparations for the docking of a U.S. space shuttle, scheduled to lift off December 7, and a Russian Progress M-59 cargo vehicle, whose launch has been set for January 2007.

"Experts decided not to conduct a second ISS orbit correction December 2 because the present orbit will allow for the docking of the shuttle, whose launch is scheduled for December 7, with the ISS," Igor Panin said.

Before the malfunction, the cargo ship's engines pushed the ISS only 1.5 kilometers (1 mile) higher, instead of the desired 7.3 kilometers (11 miles).

The space agency official said a new correction could be performed once the shuttle has docked, presumably after December 9, if the shuttle is launched December 7 as scheduled.

Corrections to the space station's orbit are conducted periodically before launches of Russian cargo ships and U.S. shuttles to compensate for Earth's gravity and to ensure successful dockings.

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