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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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November 27, 2012

Agencies choose yearlong crew for International Space Station

Agencies choose yearlong crew for International Space Station

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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

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Astronaut Scott J Kelly
Image: NASA.

Astronaut Mikhail Korniyenko
Image: NASA/Bill Stafford.

NASA and Roscosmos have chosen the crew for a year long stay at the International Space Station. Data collected may help in future manned exploration of the solar system.

Scott Kelly and Mikhail Korniyenko have been chosen by NASA and Roscosmos respectively. The two are veterans of ISS spaceflight and were chosen for their station experience and skill.

“Their skills and previous experience aboard the space station align with the mission’s requirements. The one-year increment will expand the bounds of how we live and work in space and will increase our knowledge regarding the effects of microgravity on humans as we prepare for future missions beyond low-Earth orbit” said NASA administrator William Gerstenmaier.

The pair are to launch sometime in the spring of 2015 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan and return in spring 2016. Possible NASA deep space mission destinations include near earth asteroids, the Moon, and Mars.



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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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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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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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October 28, 2010

Russian cargo ship launches to International Space Station

Russian cargo ship launches to International Space Station

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Thursday, October 28, 2010

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A Russian Progress resupply ship blasted off to the International Space Station (pictured) Wednesday.
Image: NASA.

Progress M-08M, an unmanned Russian cargo spacecraft, departed for the International Space Station (ISS) on Wednesday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome to resupply the orbital outpost.

The rocket carrying the craft, a Soyuz-U, lifted off at 7:11 pm Moscow time (15:11 GMT). Russian Space Agency officials deemed the launch a success after the Progress successfully achieved orbit and separated from the third stage of the rocket. Docking of the spacecraft with the ISS is expected to occur on Saturday.

The Progress will deliver more than 2.5 metric tons of supplies and essentials to the orbiting American-Russian crew, as well as gifts and letters from the crew members’ families.



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October 9, 2010

Remaining Expedition 25 crew launch to space

Remaining Expedition 25 crew launch to space

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Saturday, October 9, 2010

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The Soyuz TMA-01M spacecraft launched from Kazakhstan to the International Space Station Thursday with Expedition 25 Astronaut Scott Kelly and Cosmonauts Oleg Skripochka and Alexander Kaleri on board.

The Soyuz TMA-01M mission lifted off on Thursday (pictured) carrying the remaining Expedition 25 crew.
Image: NASA.

The rocket, a Soyuz-FG, launched at 23:10 UTC (5:10 AM Kazakhstan time) and reached orbit in just under ten minutes. The Soyuz launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome.

The crew members of Soyuz TMA-01M will join fellow Expedition 25 crew members Doug Wheelock, Fyodor Yurchikhin and Shannon Walker aboard the space station on Saturday. Docking is expected to occur at about 8:02 PM EDT (0:02 UTC Sunday) to the Poisk module of the ISS. Upon arrival, the remaining Expedition 25 crew will begin a five month stay aboard the space station.

The Soyuz TMA-01M mission is the 107th flight utilizing the Soyuz spacecraft and the first to utilize digital flight control systems.


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October 6, 2010

Remaining Expedition 25 crew to launch to International Space Station

Remaining Expedition 25 crew to launch to International Space Station

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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Expedition 25 crew pose for a picture at the Johnson Space Center. Pictured at center right is NASA astronaut Doug Wheelock, commander. Also pictured (from the left) are Russian cosmonauts Oleg Skripochka and Alexander Kaleri; NASA astronauts Scott Kelly and Shannon Walker; along with Russian cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin, all flight engineers.

The remaining members of the Expedition 25 crew are set to launch to the International Space Station on Thursday at 7:10 pm EDT from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, which will return the station to its full complement of 6 persons. They will launch in the Russian Soyuz TMA-01M vehicle and dock on Saturday. According to Space Fellowship there is only one Soyuz capsule currently docked to the station, for emergency escape.

Currently there are three astronauts on the station: Commander Doug Wheelock and Flight Engineers Shannon Walker and Fyodor Yurchikhin. The additional crew scheduled to join them are Flight Engineers Oleg Skripochka, Alexander Kaleri, and Scott Kelly.

The three crew now on the station were part of Expedition 24; the other half of that Expedition crew have returned to Earth. When the three now on the station are replaced, the three now about to join them will become half of Expedition 26.

While the astronauts wait for their counterparts’ arrival, they continue work on the station. Wheelock and Walker both participated in an experiment to study the long term effects of exposure to microgravity on crew members. Wheelock was collecting biological samples to place into the Human Research Facility which is a science rack in the station’s Destiny module. Meanwhile, Flight Engineer Fyodor Yurchikhin was working in the Russian segment of the station, swapping mechanical gear and installing new software. He also updated the station’s inventory management system.

The crew is also doing daily exercises to strengthen their muscles and bones to compensate for the effects of microgravity. The exercise machines include a cycle ergometer, a treadmill, and a device that simulates free-weights on Earth and pistons in vacuum cylinders.



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May 28, 2009

Soyuz TMA-15 launches crew to International Space Station

Soyuz TMA-15 launches crew to International Space Station

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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Launch of an earlier Soyuz mission.

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At 10:34 UTC (4:34 p.m. local time) Wednesday, a Russian Soyuz-FG carrier rocket launched from Site 1/5 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, with the Soyuz TMA-15 spacecraft, on a manned spaceflight to the International Space Station (ISS).

Aboard were three Expedition 20 crew members, Roman Romanenko of the Russian Federal Space Agency (RSA), Belgian Frank De Winne of the European Space Agency (ESA) and Robert Thirsk of the Canadian Space Agency (CSA).

Crew of the Soyuz TMA-15 From left to right; Thirsk, Romanenko and De Winne

The launch was almost cancelled due to strong winds and the threat of swine flu carried by a journalist however, the flight was just delayed by eight hours. “The Russians do a magnificent record of taking people to space and back. They don’t have a launch window, they don’t have launch date, they have a launch second,” said Chris Hadfield, a Canadian astronaut.

It will be a two day journey to the ISS with the crew expecting to arrive on Friday. Then there will be six crew members aboard the ISS who will represent all five global space agencies; National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, RSA, ESA and CSA.

Thirsk will spend six months aboard the ISS, “It’s only in those situations where you are able to realize what your own weakness and strengths are and the weaknesses and strengths of your astronaut colleagues as well, and then work as a team to meet everyone’s needs.”

Romanenko follows his father’s footsteps, cosmonaut Yuri Romanenko, into space.

The rollout of Soyuz TMA-15 on May 25, 2009

DeWinne will become the ISS commander in October following Gennady Padalka. “It is quite an achievement,” said Crown Prince Philippe of Belgium, “He represents Europe, he represents Belgium, he represents international collaboration for peaceful application of science.”



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July 16, 2008

Zenit-3SL rocket launches Echostar XI satellite

Zenit-3SL rocket launches Echostar XI satellite

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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

A Zenit-3SL rocket

At 05:20:59 GMT this morning, the Echostar XI satellite was successfully launched into a geosynchronous transfer orbit atop a Zenit-3SL carrier rocket. Launch occurred from the Ocean Odyssey launch platform in the Pacific Ocean. The launch was conducted by Sea Launch, a partnership between companies in Norway, Russia, Ukraine and the United States. Echostar XI separated from the Block DM-SL upper stage of the carrier rocket at 06:21:00 GMT, one hour and one second after liftoff. It was confirmed 11 seconds later.

Echostar XI is a commercial communications satellite, which will be operated by Echostar Corporation for DISH Network. The last DISH satellite to be launched, AMC-14 was lost in a launch failure involving the upper stage of its Proton carrier rocket, earlier this year. The satellite will be positioned at 110oW, in a geosynchronous transfer orbit, around 35,600 kilometres above the Equator. It will provide communications services to North America.

The Echostar XI spacecraft was built by Space Systems Loral, and is based on the LS-1300 satellite bus. It has a mass of 5511 kilograms, and will provide communications within the NATO J-band, or the Ku-band under the old US IEEE system. Acquisition of the spacecraft’s signal occurred at 06:31 GMT.

Speaking after the launch, newly appointed Sea Launch President Kjell Karlsen described the launch as “perfect”. He reported that the satellite had been placed into an orbit with a perigee of 750 kilometres, and an apogee of 35643 km. He also remarked on his predecessor, Rob Peckham, thanking him for his “unparallelled commitment and dedication”. Rohan Zaven, the Vice President of space programmes at DISH Network thanked Sea Launch for the launch, telling viewers that “what you saw tonight was another flawless mission from these guys”. Zia Oboodryat, of Space Systems Loral thanked Sea Launch, and told DISH Network that he was “sure that we’ll deliver the rest of the fifteen years [expected lifetime] to you”.

This is the thirty-fifth orbital launch of 2008. It is also the fourth Sea Launch mission of the year, and the fifth Zenit launch. It is the 67th overall Zenit launch. The next is scheduled for mid-late August, with the Measat 3A satellite, from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.



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