Space Station completes Reboost Maneuver for upcoming Visiting Vehicle Traffic

Photo: NASA/Scott Kelly
Photo: NASA/Scott Kelly

The International Space Station successfully completed a reboost of its orbit Wednesday night, increasing its orbital altitude by a little over one Kilometer. The reboost used the engines of the Progress M-29M spacecraft currently docked to the aft port of the Zvezda module of ISS and was completed on Wednesday at 19:40 UTC with a total duration of five minutes and 33 seconds.
Prior to the Reboost, the Station was found in an orbit of 398.5 by 407.6 Kilometers. The post-reboost orbital parameters were, according to tracking data:

399.41 x 408.73 km - 51.64° - Period: 92.64min

The reboost was the second in a series of reboost maneuvers in a campaign to set up the proper orbital geometry for three visiting vehicle operations – the landing of Soyuz TMA-18M with Sergei Volkov, Mikhail Kornienko and Scott Kelly on March 2nd, the four-orbit rendezvous of Soyuz TMA-20M with Aleksey Ovchinin, Oleg Skripochka and Jeff Williams in the night of March 18/19, and the four-orbit link-up of the Progress MS-2 spacecraft on the 31st of March.

The four-orbit rendezvous requires the chasing vehicle to start out in an orbit at a small phase angle to that of ISS which is set up through coordination of the Station’s orbit for the chosen launch dates with orbital maneuvers typically starting two months in advance.