Today, January 13, representatives of the state corporation for space activities “Roskosmos” officially announced that the orbit of the International Space Station has been adjusted – this happened on Wednesday evening (January 12).
“The orbital altitude of the International Space Station was adjusted in order to form ballistic conditions before the launch of the Soyuz MS-21 manned spacecraft into orbit and the landing of the Soyuz MS-19 descent vehicle,” an official statement from Roscosmos.
In order to correct the orbit of the International Space Station, the engines of the Progress MS-18 cargo vehicle were turned on, which were launched at 21:24 Moscow time. The engines worked for 395.4 seconds (almost 7 minutes), after which they were turned off – as a result, the average altitude of the station’s orbit increased by 1.2 kilometers. It is worth noting that this is a slight change in altitude – the space station was previously at an altitude of 407.3 km and only occasionally dropped lower to increase the payload of the American shuttles. Now specialists of the ballistic and navigation support service from the TsNIIMash Flight Control Center, which is part of the state corporation Roscosmos, are studying telemetry to improve general parameters.
These studies will be carried out until the spring of 2022, when the launch of the Russian Soyuz MS-21 manned transport spacecraft is to take place. At the moment, the launch of the rocket is scheduled for March 18, 2022 (it is possible that the date will be changed closer to the launch), and during this flight Russia plans to deliver three more members of the ISS-66/67/68 space expedition to the International Space Station.