Station Boosts Orbit before Heavy Spacecraft Traffic Period

Solar Arrays and Earth's Limb
The International Space Station’s solar arrays and the Earth’s limb were photographed during a Jan. 15, 2016, spacewalk.

The International Space Station raised its orbit again today as three crew members prepare for a March 1 landing while another trio gets ready for a March 18 launch. Meanwhile, advanced research continued inside the orbital laboratory to improve life on Earth and for future space residents.

Today’s orbital reboost places the station at the correct altitude for the March 1 undocking of Soyuz Commander Sergey Volkov and One-Year crew members Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko. Their undocking will leave the Poisk module’s docking port vacant where a trio of Expedition 47 crew members will dock two-and-a-half weeks later inside the Soyuz TMA-20M spacecraft.

Today, the Expedition 46 crew participated in a variety of human research exploring how the heart adapts to life in space, the risk of atherosclerosis in astronauts and how microgravity affects an astronaut’s vision. The crew also sampled the station’s air and surfaces for microbes to learn how to prevent contamination in future spacecraft.

Another spacecraft is being prepared for departure Friday morning when it will be released from the grips of the 57.7 foot long Canadarm2 robotic arm. The Orbital ATK Cygnus cargo craft is being loaded with trash before NASA astronauts Kelly and Tim Kopra release Cygnus using the robotics controls inside the seven-window cupola. NASA Television will cover the activities live Friday beginning at 7 a.m. EST.

4 thoughts on “Station Boosts Orbit before Heavy Spacecraft Traffic Period”

  1. Three part questions, One you say you raised the ISS but don’t say to what. Can you tell us how much or the height your at now? What are the times undocking of the Soyuz will be in the Central time zone and the docking of the new crew coming? Also, who will take over as Commander? Thanks and may God’s speed be with you all!

    1. The station’s perigee, or the closest point to Earth in its orbit, was raised just over two miles. The March 1 crew undocking will be at 7:05 pm Central time. NASA astronaut Tim Kopra will be the new commander when Scott Kelly, Mikhail Kornienko and Sergey Volkov undock in their Soyuz TMA-18M spacecraft March 1. The March 19 launch is at 4:26 pm CT and docking is at 10:12 pm CT.

    1. When Scott Kelly, Mikhail Kornienko and Sergey Volkov return home March 1 there will still be three crew members on the International Space Station. Tim Kopra, Tim Peake and Yuri Malenchenko will still be orbiting Earth until June this year.

      Three new space station crew members (Jeff Williams, Oleg Skriprochka and Alexey Ovchinin) will launch March 19 to join the Expedition 47 crew.

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