Loaded with waste from the International Space Station (ISS), the Progress M1-11 freight spaceship will undocked from the station but will not t be sunk in the Pacific Ocean yet, the official spokesman for the Mission Control Center, Valery Lyndin, told RIA Novosti Wednesday.
"The sinking of the freight spaceship in the Pacific Ocean has been delayed," he said. "On Monday, May 24, at 1:20 p.m., the Progress M1-11 will be undocked from the ISS, moved a safe distance from it and will be left in orbit where it will remain under the constant control of the Mission Control Center's specialists."
No explanations have been given for this decision. Usually, a day before a new spaceship docks with the station, the "old" Progress spaceship, loaded with garbage, is taken out of orbit and sunk. The parts of the spaceship that did not burn up in the lower atmosphere layers, smoothly fall to "the cemetery of spaceships" on the 40th parallel in the Pacific Ocean.
Yesterday, the Progress M1-11 increased the height of the space station's orbit by four kilometers. The orbit was corrected before the Progress M-49 freight spaceship docks with the ISS on May 27. The new spaceship will be launched to the space station from Baikonur on May 25, Mr. Lyndin said.
"The operation to raise the height of the ISS's orbit was successfully accomplished by turning on the engines of the Progress M1-11, docked with the station," the spokesman said.
"The engines of the freight spaceship were on for 477 seconds. As a result, the height of the station's orbit increased by an average of four kilometers," he specified.
The station's orbit is corrected regularly so that the station is at the necessary height to dock with a freight spaceship or a piloted spaceship. Everyday, because of the law of gravity, the station's orbit decreases by about 200 meters.
In January, the Progress M1-11 brought the so-called phantoms - the Russian-made ball-shaped Matryoshka-R and the European phantom that German manufacturers named, Mister Rando - to the space station for a Russian-European experiment. The devices, filled with detectors, monitor the amount of radiation a human's vital organs are subject to during long space flights. The Matryoshka is a 30-kilogram ball with a 35-centimeter diameter. It was made from a material with a chemical composition that is similar to the human body.