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ISS orbit raised 5 miles to host U.S. shuttle

RIA Novosti

05/12/2006 09:28 MISSION CONTROL (Moscow Region), December 5 (RIA Novosti) - The International Space Station's orbit has been raised 8.5 kilometers (5 miles) to prepare for the docking of a U.S. space shuttle, a space agency official said Tuesday.

Mission Control aborted an attempt to correct the station's orbit last Thursday, which was planned as part of preparations for the docking of the U.S. space shuttle Discovery and a Russian Progress M-59 cargo vehicle.

Before the malfunction, the cargo ship's engines had raised the ISS only one mile, instead of the desired five 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.

The Discovery is scheduled to lift off from Cape Canaveral December 7, and a Russian Progress M-59 cargo vehicle will be launched in January 2007.

The docking of Discovery is scheduled for 10:59 p.m. GMT December 9.

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