International Space Station is after another orbit change, last one before planned for 7th September undocking of the Soyuz TMA-20M manned spacecraft with members of Expedition 48.
Departure of the Soyuz TMA-20M is planned to release free space for Soyuz MS-02 planned to be launched with Expedition 49 members: Sergey Ryzhikov (commander) and Andrei Borisenko (first flight engineer) from Roscosmos along with Robert Kimbrough from NASA (second flight engineer). Expedition 49 will reach ISS inside Soyuz MS-02, which will be launched on atop of Soyuz-FG on 23rd September 2016 from Baikonur Cosmodrome. On 7th September Alexei Ovchinin (commander, Roscosmos) and Oleg Skripochka (first flight engineer, Roscosmos), along with Jeff Williams (first flight engineer, NASA) will leave ISS inside TMA-20M and reach plains of Kazakhstan few hours later.
Maneuver performed today started at 08:30 GMT and was conducted without any actions by crew members. Mission Control Center in Korolev near Moscow send command to start engines of Progress MS-01 docked to Rassvet module nadir docking port. Propulsion worked after ignition for 728.6 seconds, what increased speed of the Station for 1.3 m/s. Orbit changed for about 2.3 km to average altitude of 404 km (apogee at 420.1 km and perigee at 403.79 km, inclination at 51.66°). According to MCC in Korolev, maneuver was performed correctly and Station is ready for undocking of Soyuz TMA-20M.
Today is important moment in space career of Jeff Williams, who will return to Earth already on September. He has just bet NASA record of time spent in space, cumulating 520 days in space over his four missions. He received congratulations from Scott Kelly, who still keeps NASA record of single mission duration with 340 days. When Jeff Williams will return to Earth on 7th September, he will reach 534 days in space during his career as member of NASA Astronaut Corps.