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Space

ISS orbit to be readjusted for Soyuz TMA-20 return

RIA Novosti

03:21 05/05/2011

MOSCOW, May 5 (RIA Novosti) - The orbit of the International Space Station (ISS) will be raised by 1 kilometer (0.6 miles) on Thursday, Russian Mission Control said.

"The readjustment is necessary to ensure the best conditions for the successful return of Soyuz TMA-20 crew to Earth on May 24," Mission Control said in a statement.

Soyuz TMA-20 will bring back members of Expedition 27 - Russian cosmonaut Dmitry Kondratyev, NASA astronaut Catherine Coleman and European Space Agency astronaut Paolo Nespoli. They have been on board the orbital station since December last year.

The maneuver will be conducted using the two main engines on board the European Space Agency's Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV-2), which docked with the ISS on February 24.

The engines will be switched on for 239 seconds to give the ISS an additional boost of 0.6 meters per second.

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



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