Space station adjusts orbit to host Endeavour

By RIA Novosti

Mission Control (Moscow) : Russian Mission Control said Tuesday it had successfully adjusted the International Space Station's orbit in preparation for the docking of the US space shuttle Endeavour, due to be launched Aug 8.

Support TwoCircles

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

The correction started at 2:06 a.m. with the help of the Progress M-60 cargo ship, which is already docked with the ISS. The cargo ship's boosters were activated for 1,265 seconds, while the orbit was raised 7.5 km, bringing the space station to an altitude 337.5 km above the Earth's surface.

"The correction was made without the crew's participation," a Mission Control spokesman said.

The launch of the NASA STS-118 mission is targeted for Aug 8. It will be the 22nd flight to the International Space Station (ISS) and the first flight for Endeavour since 2002.

Endeavour, which has been modernised and equipped with a new system designed to let the shuttle use electrical power from the space station, will deliver a new truss segment, a Spacehab module, and an external stowage platform to the ISS, which is planned to be completed by 2010.

NASA said that during the 11-day mission, the seven-member Endeavour crew would conduct three space walks. An electrical boost from the space station could allow the mission to be extended for three extra days, and an additional space walk could be added.

The Endeavour is already being prepared for its rollout to the launch pad.