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Space station changes orbit in advance of tourist arrival

Latest update : 2008-10-05

The International Space Station has adjusted its orbit in order to facilitate the arrival later this month of the Russian Soyuz spacecraft carrying space tourist Richard Garriott, Russian cosmonaut Yuri Lonchakov and US astronaut Michael Fincke.

The orbital path of the International Space Station (ISS) was successfully adjusted Saturday to accommodate the landing of the world's sixth space tourist in eight days time, Interfax reported citing Russian space programme officials.

"The maneouvre was conducted automatically," said an official from the Russian space control centre (TSOUP).

The ISS had to change its distance from Earth -- now 353 kilometres (200 miles) after the 1.25-kilometre adjustment -- to create optimal conditions for the arrival of a Russian Soyuz rocket carrying Russian cosmonaut Yuri Lonchakov, US astronaut Michael Fincke and the tourist Richard Garriott.

The Soyuz TMA-13 is due to be launched from Kazakhstan on October 12.

Multi-millionaire US businessman Garriott is the son of US astronaut Owen Garriott.

Richard Garriott paid more than 30 million dollars (20 million euros) to be launched into space from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, according to Space Adventures, the US-based company that organised his trip.

Date created : 2008-10-05

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