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Image Credit: NASA.

ISS conducts orbit lowering ahead of Soyuz arrival and departure

On Friday, September 24, 2021 at 14:38 UTC, the International Space Station’s (ISS) orbit around planet Earth was lowered about 1.2 km in altitude, by firing the thrusters of the Zvezda Service Module, located at the Russian segment of the space station, for 47.5 seconds. This maneuver was conducted in preparation for the departure of the crewed Soyuz MS-18 and the launch and arrival of the crewed Soyuz MS-19.

Soyuz MS-18

The Soyuz MS-18 is a crewed spacecraft launched into space on April 9, 2021 atop a Soyuz 2.1a rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The vehicle, which carried the two Russian cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Pyotr Dubrov, as well as NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei, rendezvoused with the the orbital laboratory about 3 1/2 hours and two orbits after launch and subsequently docked to the Earth-facing (nadir) docking port of the Russian Rassvet module.

On Tuesday, September 28, the Soyuz and the three men are expected to conduct a port relocation to free Rassvet’s nadir port for the arrival of Soyuz MS-19. After a short ~40 minutes long flight, the Soyuz will dock to the Earth-facing docking port of the newly arrived Russian Nauka module. This will be the first time a spacecraft docks to Nauka.

Soyuz MS-18 and Oleg Novitskiy are scheduled to depart the International Space Station in October of this year. The cosmonaut will be accompanied by the Russian actress Yulia Peresild and the Russian movie director Klim Shipenko, who will both launch to the ISS on October 5 onboard Soyuz MS-19. While Novitskiy returns back to Earth, Dubrov and Vande Hei will remain on the space station until March 2022.

Soyuz MS-18 docked to the ISS' Rassvet module. Image Credit: NASA.
Soyuz MS-18 docked to the ISS’ Rassvet module. Image Credit: NASA.

Soyuz MS-19

Soyuz MS-19 is a crewed spacecraft scheduled to launch to the ISS on October 5, 2021. The vehicle will blast off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome atop a Russian Soyuz 2.1a rocket and will arrive at the orbital laboratory a few hours afterwards. It will carry the Russian cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov of Roscosmos, as well as the actress Yulia Peresild and the movie director Klim Shipenko to humanity’s outpost in low Earth orbit. Peresild and Shipenko will return to Earth later this year onboard Soyuz MS-18 together with Oleg Novitskiy. Anton Shkaplerov is expected to depart the ISS in March 2022 together with the two Soyuz MS-18 crew members Pyotr Dubrov and Mark Vande Hei.


Sources:

https://www.roscosmos.ru/32721/

https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/space-station-crew-to-relocate-soyuz-make-room-for-new-crewmates

en.roscosmos.ru/22369/

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