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Russia to adjust ISS orbit on NASA request to host U.S. shuttle

RIA Novosti

04/12/2006 10:52 MISSION CONTROL (Moscow Region), December 4 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's Mission Control will adjust the International Space Station's orbit on NASA's request, to prepare for the docking of a U.S. space shuttle, a space agency official said Friday.

"On the request of NASA, the ISS orbit will be raised on December 5, at 00.36 Moscow time [9.36 p.m. GMT, December 4]," Federal Space Agency spokesman Igor Panarin said.

Mission Control aborted an attempt to correct the orbit last Thursday after an engine malfunctioned on a Progress M-58 cargo vehicle.

The agency had said Friday the docking could take place without changing the ISS position, but agreed to alter the orbit following NASA's request.

The U.S. space shuttle is scheduled to lift off on December 7, and a Russian Progress M-59 cargo vehicle will be launched in January 2007.

Before the malfunction, the cargo ship's engines had raised the ISS only 1.5 kilometers (1 mile), instead of the desired 7.3 kilometers (5 miles).

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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