Russia Successful in Second Attempt to Start Progress Craft, Correct ISS Orbit

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Russia’s space agency said Monday it had managed to restart the engines of the Progress spacecraft and correct the orbit of the International Space Station (ISS) after a failed first attempt.

“On Sunday night, the orbit of the ISS was successfully corrected,” Roscosmos told Russian news agencies after an initial attempt to switch on the spacecraft’s engines was unsuccessful.

The operation by the Progress M-26M cargo vehicle, which is moored to the Russian module Zvezda, began just after 3:30 am Moscow time (0030 GMT) and took about half an hour.

ISS is now at the right altitude for its three crew members to return to Earth in early June.

The manoeuvre was first attempted on Friday but the Russian team was unable to start the engines, sparking a crisis in the country’s space industry after a series of embarrassing failures.

A few hours later, Russia also lost a Mexican telecommunications satellite following the failed launch of Proton-M carrier rocket from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev immediately launched an inquiry after the satellite incident, demanding answers from the head of the space agency, Igor Komarov, and suggesting heads could roll.

Russia fired the head of its space agency last year after a series of failures.

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