By Ria Novosti
Specialists of Russia’s Mission Control Center raised the orbit altitude of the International Space Station (ISS) in the early hours of Sunday to prevent a possible collision with a Chinese satellite fragment, a spokesman for the Center said.
“The maneuver was performed using Zvezda service module engines,” the spokesman said.
The altitude of the ISS orbit was raised by 1.7 kilometers to 391.6 kilometers, he said, adding that the maneuver lasted 64 seconds.
NASA earlier reported on its website that 32 hours after Russia’s Progress-M-14M docks with the ISS – which occurred at 4.08 am Moscow time (00:08 GMT) on Saturday – a fragment of the Chinese Fengyun-1C weather satellite is likely to pass in dangerous proximity to the space station.
The satellite fragment approached the ISS several times in the past, most recently on January 24, but there was no need to change the station’s altitude at that time, the spokesman said.
The aging Fengyun-1C satellite was destroyed in 2007 during Chinese anti-satellite missile tests. Thousands of its fragments have since remained in orbit.