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March 28, 2014

Soyuz TMA-12M arrives at International Space Station after delay

Soyuz TMA-12M arrives at International Space Station after delay

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Friday, March 28, 2014

Soyuz TMA-12M, a Russian spacecraft carrying a crew of three, arrived at the International Space Station (ISS) at 2353 UTC yesterday, after a technical setback prevented a planned rendezvous and docking on Tuesday.

Soyuz TMA-12M launches from Kazakhstan to the International Space Station.
Image: NASA/Bill Ingalls.

The spacecraft, which launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 2117 UTC on Tuesday (3:17 AM, Wednesday local time), was originally scheduled to dock with the space station at 0304 UTC on Wednesday. It was not in the proper orientation to execute one of the engine burns required as part of the expedited rendezvous procedure used since last year, however, and docking with the ISS was delayed until yesterday. The mission reverted to the flight plan used on Soyuz flights to the ISS previously: a longer, two-day, 34-orbit rendezvous.

The precise cause of the malfunction has not yet been publicly announced, but NASA said Wednesday, all systems aboard the Soyuz appeared to be functioning normally despite the setback which prevented a docking approximately six hours after launch. Also according to NASA, engineers understand the issue and have developed methods to prevent a recurrence on a future flight and the crew was never in any danger.

Soyuz TMA-12M successfully docked with the station 252 miles (406 km) above Brazil at 2353 UTC yesterday, with hatch opening between the two spacecraft occurring at 0235 UTC today.

On board the Soyuz were two Russian cosmonauts: Commander Aleksandr Skvortsov and Flight Engineer Oleg Artemyev, as well as one NASA astronaut: Flight Engineer Steven Swanson. TMA-12M is a return to space for both Skvortsov and Swanson, who are making the trip for the second and third times, respectively. Artemyev is visiting space for the first time.

Filling out the full six person contingent on the station, they join three Expedition 39 crew members aboard the ISS: Japanese astronaut and station commander Koichi Wakata, NASA astronaut Richard Mastracchio and Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Tyurin. They launched aboard Soyuz TMA-11M in November of last year and were the sole inhabitants of the station since the departure of Soyuz TMA-10M on March 11.

Skvortsov, Artemyev and Swanson are to become the crew of Expedition 40 when TMA-11M is scheduled to depart in May with Wakata, Mastracchio and Tyurin aboard, at which time Swanson is to assume command of the station. The trio are slated to remain aboard the orbital outpost for approximately six months, until TMA-12M undocks in mid-September and returns to Earth.



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March 29, 2013

Soyuz TMA-08M launches to International Space Station, arrives in record time

Soyuz TMA-08M launches to International Space Station, arrives in record time

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Friday, March 29, 2013

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Soyuz TMA-08M, a Russian spacecraft with a crew of three aboard, launched from Kazakhstan to the International Space Station (ISS) Thursday at 20:43 UTC (2:43 AM Friday, local time) and docked with the orbital outpost at 2:28 UTC on Friday after following a flight plan enabling a docking in record time.

Christopher Cassidy, Pavel Vinogradov, and Aleksandr Misurkin (pictured left-to-right) launched Thursday to the ISS on a record-breaking flight, arriving just under six hours after liftoff.
Image: NASA/Robert Markowitz.

Soyuz TMA-08M is the first manned Soyuz spaceflight to follow a new flight plan which allowed the spacecraft to dock with the ISS in a record-breaking time of approximately six hours, or four orbits, rather than the usual two days. This new flight plan, described as “a fast track to the International Space Station” by NASA spokesman Josh Byerly, had been tested successfully prior to Thursday’s launch by three unmanned Progress cargo ships delivering supplies to the station.

The three-member crew of the mission consists of two Russian cosmonauts, Commander Pavel Vinogradov and Flight Engineer Aleksandr Misurkin, and one U.S. astronaut, Flight Engineer Christopher Cassidy. Soyuz TMA-08M is the third spaceflight for Vinogradov and the second for Cassidy. Aleksandr Misurkin is making his maiden trip into space aboard the mission.

The Soyuz spacecraft docked with the ISS at 2:28 UTC on Friday, about four minutes ahead of schedule and just short of six hours after liftoff. After docking with the station, the hatches separating the Soyuz and the ISS were opened at 4:35 UTC, after which the new crewmembers were welcomed aboard by the three-man crew currently aboard the outpost, Russian cosmonaut Roman Romanenko, Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, and U.S. astronaut Thomas Marshburn.

The combined six-person Expedition 35 space station crew is slated to perform scientific research and prepare for upcoming departures and arrivals of other spacecraft. The next of these is scheduled for April 15 when Progress M-17M is to undock from the station. The trio already aboard the ISS—consisting of Romanenko, Hadfield, and Marshburn—are to depart and return to Earth aboard Soyuz TMA-07M on May 14, leaving the Soyuz TMA-08M crew behind. Soyuz TMA-09M, also using the new flight plan, is scheduled to arrive at the ISS with three new crewmembers two weeks later on May 28.

Soyuz TMA-08M—with Vinogradov, Misurkin, and Cassidy aboard—is scheduled to return to Earth on September 11, after approximately six months in space.



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Soyuz TMA-08M launches to International Space Station

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Friday, March 29, 2013

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Soyuz TMA-08M, a Russian spacecraft with a crew of three aboard, launched from Kazakhstan to the International Space Station (ISS) Thursday at 20:43 UTC (2:43 AM Friday, local time) and docked with the orbital outpost at 2:28 UTC on Friday.

Christopher Cassidy, Pavel Vinogradov, and Aleksandr Misurkin (pictured left-to-right) launched Thursday to the ISS on a record-breaking flight, arriving just under six hours after liftoff.
Image: NASA/Robert Markowitz.

Soyuz TMA-08M is the first manned Soyuz spaceflight to follow a new flight plan which allowed the spacecraft to dock with the ISS in a record-breaking time of approximately six hours, or four orbits, rather than the usual two days. This new flight plan, described as “a fast track to the International Space Station” by NASA spokesman Josh Byerly, had been tested successfully prior to Thursday’s launch by three unmanned Progress cargo ships delivering supplies to the station.

The three-member crew of the mission consists of two Russian cosmonauts, Commander Pavel Vinogradov and Flight Engineer Aleksandr Misurkin, and one U.S. astronaut, Flight Engineer Christopher Cassidy. Soyuz TMA-08M is the third spaceflight for Vinogradov and the second for Cassidy. Aleksandr Misurkin is making his maiden trip into space aboard the mission.

The Soyuz spacecraft docked with the ISS at 2:28 UTC on Friday, about four minutes ahead of schedule and just short of six hours after liftoff. After docking with the station, the hatches separating the Soyuz and the ISS are to be opened at about 4:10 UTC, after which the new crewmembers will be welcomed aboard by the three-man crew currently aboard the outpost, Russian cosmonaut Roman Romanenko, Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, and U.S. astronaut Thomas Marshburn.

The combined six-person Expedition 35 space station crew is slated to perform scientific research and prepare for upcoming departures and arrivals of other spacecraft. The next of these is scheduled for April 15 when Progress M-17M is to undock from the station. The trio already aboard the ISS—consisting of Romanenko, Hadfield, and Marshburn—are to depart and return to Earth aboard Soyuz TMA-07M on May 14, leaving the Soyuz TMA-08M crew behind. Soyuz TMA-09M, also using the new flight plan, is scheduled to arrive at the ISS with three new crewmembers two weeks later on May 28.

Soyuz TMA-08M—with Vinogradov, Misurkin, and Cassidy aboard—is scheduled to return to Earth on September 11, after approximately six months in space.



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November 19, 2012

Expedition 33 crew returns to Earth

Expedition 33 crew returns to Earth – Wikinews, the free news source

Expedition 33 crew returns to Earth

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Monday, November 19, 2012

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Recovery forces receive the astronauts.
Image: NASA/Bill Ingalls.

Three astronauts return to Earth today, after touching down safely in Kazakhstan aboard their Soyuz capsule in the pre-dawn hours of Monday morning. The landing marks the culmination of a 127 day mission to the international space station, and only the fourth time a Soyuz capsule has landed at night in its missions to the International Space Station (ISS).

Astronauts Yuri Malenchenko, Sunita Williams, and Akihiko Hoshide were carried to reclining chairs to help them re-acclimate to gravity after being extracted from the sideways capsule by Russian recovery forces. The astronauts bundled up in their recliners as air temperature at the site hit -11°C (12°F).

The group started their trip to the ISS on July 15 launching from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. In their four and a half month stay on the station they completed a variety of different studies including the effects of microgravity on the human spine and studying melting glaciers. They also were aboard to receive the first commercial shipment made by SpaceX’s Dragon cargo resupply mission.

“It was a beautiful departure. It was just beautiful to watch the ship fly away,” said Kevin Ford, now the current commander of the ISS. Ford was passed command of the ISS after in a change of command ceremony on Saturday. During the ceremony Williams remarked, “I think we’ve left the ship in good shape and I’m honored to hand it over to Kevin.”

Upon approval of the medical team Williams and Hoshide will return to Houston, Texas, while Malenchenko heads back to Star City, Russia.



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Expedition 33 crew returns to Earth, soyuz lands in Kazakhstan

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Monday, November 19, 2012

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Recovery forces receive the astronauts.
Image: NASA/Bill Ingalls.

Three astronauts return to Earth today, after touching down safely in Kazakhstan aboard their Soyuz capsule in the pre-dawn hours of Monday morning. The landing marks the culmination of a 127 day mission to the international space station, and only the fourth time a Soyuz capsule has landed at night in its missions to the International Space Station (ISS).

Astronauts Yuri Malenchenko, Sunita Williams, and Akihiko Hoshide were carried to reclining chairs to help them re-acclimate to gravity after being extracted from the sideways capsule by Russian recovery forces. The astronauts bundled up in their recliners as air temperature at the site hit -11°C (12°F).

The group started their trip to the ISS on July 15 launching from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. In their four and a half month stay on the station they completed a variety of different studies including the effects of microgravity on the human spine and ice cap studies. They also were aboard to receive the first commercial shipment made by SpaceX’s Dragon cargo resupply mission.

“It was a beautiful departure. It was just beautiful to watch the ship fly away,” said Kevin Ford, now the current commander of the ISS. Ford was passed command of the ISS after in a change of command ceremony on Saturday. During the ceremony Williams remarked, “I think we’ve left the ship in good shape and I’m honored to hand it over to Kevin.”

Upon approval of the medical team Williams and Hoshide will return to Houston, Texas, while Malenchenko heads back to Star City, Russia.



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May 18, 2012

Expedition 31 crew members arrive at International Space Station

Expedition 31 crew members arrive at International Space Station

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Friday, May 18, 2012

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The crew of Soyuz TMA-04M wave to spectators before boarding their International Space Station-bound rocket Tuesday.
Image: NASA/Bill Ingalls.

The Soyuz TMA-04M spacecraft, which launched on Tuesday, arrived at the International Space Station yesterday with three members of the Expedition 31 long duration mission.

The Soyuz rocket launched on May 15 at 3:01:23 UTC (9:01:23 AM local time) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. On board were Russian cosmonauts Gennady Padalka and Sergei Revin, as well as NASA astronaut Joseph Acaba.

The Soyuz spacecraft arrived at the International Space Station on May 17, approximately two days after launch, at 4:36 UTC. After docking, the Soyuz crew joined fellow Expedition 31 crew members Oleg Kononenko, European Space Agency astronaut Andre Kuipers, and NASA astronaut Donald Pettit, who wished Acaba a happy 45th birthday.

Kononenko, Kuipers, and Pettit are currently slated to return to Earth in early June, at which point Padalka, Revin and Acaba—the most recent additions to the ISS crew—will become members of Expedition 32. The trio are scheduled to be the only occupants of the space outpost until the arrival of the remainder of the Expedition 32 crew aboard Soyuz TMA-05M, currently slated for July 17.

During their time aboard the station, Padalka, Revin, and Acaba will perform research in ecology, medicine, and space technology. They are expected to remain aboard the International Space Station until mid-September, after which they will return to Earth to conclude a mission of approximately 125 days in space.



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June 29, 2011

Debris narrowly misses International Space Station

Debris narrowly misses International Space Station

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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

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Space debris passed within a short distance of the International Space Station (ISS) Tuesday, forcing the crew to enter their escape capsules to be ready to depart in case of a collision. The debris ultimately missed the orbital outpost and passed within 260 meters (853 ft) of the station at 12:08 UTC (8:08 EDT).

International Space Station (ISS)
Image: NASA.

Approximately half an hour after the closest approach of the debris, the crew were given the all-clear to reenter the space station from their escape capsules.

Under normal circumstances and had mission controllers known about the collision threat sooner, the crew would have used the station’s thrusters to maneuver out of the path of the oncoming debris.

The size of the debris that threatened the station and its crew in this instance was not immediately known; however, even small fragments can become a major concern due to their high speed.

Had the debris struck the ISS, the crew would have sealed their Soyuz spacecraft and departed the station.

There are six people aboard the ISS and two Soyuz spacecrafts docked to the station. Each Soyuz contains accommodations for three people.

This is not the first time that debris threatened the ISS and its crew. A similar incident occurred in March 2009. Estimations show that there are more than 300,000 pieces of debris in Low-Earth orbit over 10 centimeters (4 in) in length, which travel several thousands of kilometers per hour.



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May 25, 2011

Expedition 27 crew successfully returns to Earth

Expedition 27 crew successfully returns to Earth

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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

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The crew of Soyuz TMA-20, which landed on Tuesday in Kazakhstan.
Image: NASA.

The Expedition 27 crew returned to Earth safely from the International Space Station (ISS) yesterday. The crew landed in Kazakhstan aboard the Soyuz TMA-20 spacecraft, the same craft they launched on last December.

The crew, consisting of commander Dmitri Kondratyev and flight engineers Catherine Coleman and Paolo Nespoli, spent approximately five months in space aboard the ISS.

After landing, recovery teams helped the crew exit their Soyuz capsule and adjust to surface gravity again. While Kondratyev returned to the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center, Coleman and Nespoli returned to Houston, Texas.

While in space the crew worked on over 150 microgravity experiments and saw the arrival of several spacecraft: a Japanese H-II Transfer Vehicle, two Russian Progress cargo ships, the European Johannes Kepler ATV and the space shuttles Discovery and Endeavour on their final flights.

This was Russian cosmonaut and commander Dimitri Kondratyev’s first spaceflight, the third for NASA astronaut Catherine Coleman, and the second for European Space Agency astronaut Paolo Nespoli.

The crew of STS-134 and Expedition 28 remain aboard the ISS. Three new crew members are expected to launch on June 7 to join their colleagues aboard the orbital outpost.



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March 17, 2011

Expedition 26 crew returns to Earth safely

Expedition 26 crew returns to Earth safely

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Thursday, March 17, 2011

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The Expedition 26 crew (From left to right: Kelly, Kaleri and Skripochka) returned safely to earth Wednesday aboard Soyuz TMA-01M after several months aboard the ISS.
Image: NASA.

The Expedition 26 crew returned to Earth safely on Wednesday aboard the Soyuz TMA-01M spacecraft after a 157-day tour of duty aboard the International Space Station (ISS). Landing occurred on the Kazakhstan Steppes.

The crew, consisting of Commander Aleksandr Kaleri and Flight Engineers Oleg Skripochka and Scott Kelly, launched to space on October 7 of last year, docking to the station a couple days later. According to NASA officials, landing conditions were “too cold, too windy, too arctic” to set up a medical tent as is usually done after a Soyuz landing. Instead, the cosmonauts and astronaut were taken to Kustanai, Kazakhstan before returning to Star City, Russia.

Despite the weather during landing and crew recovery operations, NASA spokesman Rob Navias says that the recovery teams are apt at recovering crews under such conditions. The three crewmembers exited the capsule about thirty minutes after a landing in deep snow.

The launch of the next flight to the ISS, Soyuz TMA-21, has been delayed due to technical problems, and is scheduled to lift-off no earlier than March 29.

Scott Kelly was in space at the time of the Tucson shooting during which his twin brother’s wife, U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, was shot. He and brother Mark Kelly are the only twins to have both flown into space.

This was the first spaceflight for Oleg Skripochka, the third for Scott Kelly, and the fifth for Aleksandr Kaleri. Kaleri is now the second most experienced space-traveler in human history, spending a total of 770 days in space and trailing only Sergei Krikalev, who has accumulated just over 800 days.



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December 16, 2010

Expedition 26 crew blast off to space station

Expedition 26 crew blast off to space station

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Thursday, December 16, 2010

A photo of the Expedition 26 launch
Image: NASA/Carla Cioffi.

The Expedition 26 crew, comprising of Russian, American and Italian astronauts, launched to the International Space Station (ISS) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Thursday at 1:09 am local time (19:09 UTC).

The crew, which comprised of Russian Dmitry Kondratyev, American Catherine Coleman and Italian Paolo Nespoli, launched aboard the Soyuz TMA-20 and will dock with the station Friday afternoon. With a flash of light, the rocket lifted off the pad and soared towards the heavens resembling a star of white light according to launch footage.

Updates were given over the loudspeaker every 20 seconds until the nine minute mark which signaled that the capsule had reached stable orbit. This was greeted by hearty cheers.

The station currently houses Commander Scott Kelly and Flight Engineers Alexander Kaleri and Oleg Skripochka who have been aboard the station since October 9. They are slated to leave the station in March of next year. Once they depart, the recently launched Expedition 26 crew members will become Expedition 27.

The launch was scheduled to take place several days ago, however it had to be postponed to facilitate the replacement of the reentry capsule which was damaged while it was being unloaded at the Cosmodrome earlier this year. Replacing such a key component so close to the laucnch date caused some fear, however astronaut Dmitry Kondratyev dismissed these fears at the pre-launch press conference, “All the procedures needed to check the integrity of the ship have been completed, and all those have shown positive results.”

The astronauts stayed at the Cosmonaut Hotel in Baikonur for two weeks before the launch. This launch marks ten years of flights to the ISS which began in October 2000.



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