Soyuz TMA-04M Launched Toward ISS

Soyuz FG Launches TMA-04M Toward ISS
Image Credit: NASA TV

A Soyuz FG rocket launched the Soyuz TMA-04M (RSC Energia) spacecraft carrying three new International Space Station crew members on Tuesday. The Soyuz rocket lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome at 8:01 pm Phoenix time Monday (0301 UTC Tuesday) and placed the Soyuz TMA-04M spacecraft into orbit. On board the Soyuz are Russian cosmonauts Gennady Padalka and Sergei Revin and American astronaut Joseph Acaba. The Soyuz will dock with the ISS at 11:39 pm EDT Wednesday (0339 GMT Thursday).


Soyuz TMA-04M Set for 15 May Launch

Encapsulating the TMA-04M Spacecraft at Baikonur
Image Credit: Energia

The Russian spacecraft TMA-04M is ready for launch at 0301 UTC on Tuesday, 15 May, from Baikonur (8:01 PM Monday Phoenix time).

The three men on the launch are Expedition 31/32 Flight Engineer Joe Acaba, and cosmonauts Gennady Padalka, a veteran space flyer dating back to the Mir Space Station and Sergey Revin, a rookie. You can follow Joe Acaba on his blog.

Currently, American Astronaut Don Pettit, Dutch Astronaut Andre Kuipers and Russian Cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko (ISS Expedition 31) are aboard the space station. Once they depart in early July, Acaba, Padalka and Revin will be joined by Astronaut Suni Williams, Japanese Astronaut Aki Hoshide and Russian Cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko (ISS Expedition 32) aboard Soyuz TMA-05M.

More images can be found at the S. P. Korolev web site.

Moving TMA-04M and the Soyuz FG Launch Vehicle to the Pad
Image Credit: Energia

On the Pad
TMA-04M and the Soyuz FG Launch Vehicle on the Pad at Baikonur
Image Credit: Energia

Soyuz TMA-02M

TMA-02M on Pad
Russian Spacecraft TMA-02M
Image Credit: NASA / Carla Cioffi

Russia is ready to launch an American, Russian and Japanese crew on a mission to the International Space Station today at 1:12 PM Phoenix time (2012 UTC).

This will be the second flight of the new TMA-M series manned spacecraft. The first mission flew successfully on 7 October 2011.

The three crew members, who will be joining the current Expedition 28, are:

  • Michael Fossum (NASA, USA), ISS-28 Flight Engineer, ISS-29 Commander, Soyuz TMA-02M Flight Engineer
  • Volkov Sergei (Roscosmos, Russia), ISS-28/29 Flight Engineer, Soyuz TMA-02M Commander
  • Furukawa Satoshi (JAXA, Japan), ISS-28/29 Flight Engineer, Soyuz TMA-02M Flight Engineer.

Launch coverage can be found at NASA TV or Tsenki.

TMA-02M Launch
Image Credit: NASA TV

TMA-02M Ascent
Image Credit: NASA TV

All systems are nominal for a rendezvous with the ISS on Thursday.

It is nice to see what a 60 year old rocket system can do.

Soyuz has been launched more than 850 times.

Granted, there have been continuous upgrades.

No shiny new objects.

But it works.

[end editorial comment]

Soyuz TMA-19 Docking with the ISS

The Russian Soyuz spacecraft TMA-19 is on schedule to dock with the International Space Station this afternoon at 3:25 PM Phoenix time (22:25 UTC).

Key events in the automated docking time-line include:

  • 1:06 PM – Initiation of the automated rendezvous sequence
  • 1:28 PM – First key engine firing
  • 1:51 PM – Second engine firing, followed by the activation of the Kurs rendezvous equipment
  • 2:12 PM – Soyuz is within 60 miles of the ISS
  • 2:37 PM – Soyuz reaches a distance of 10 miles from the ISS
  • 2:45 PM – The television camera in the nose of the spacecraft is activated
  • 2:53 PM – Initiation of maneuvers to slow the closure rate and align the Soyuz with the Zvezda service module docking port
  • 3:16 PM – Beginning of final approach
  • 3:25 PM – Docking complete
  • 6:25 PM – Opening of the hatches between the Soyuz and the ISS

Soyuz 01
Soyuz TMA spacecraft
Image Credit: Energia

Soyuz 02
Soyuz TMA spacecraft cross section
Image Credit: Energia

At 2:12 PM Phoenix time (21:12 UTC), Soyuz TMA-19 and the ISS are separated by only 60 miles (100 km).

At 3:00 PM Phoenix time, NASA-TV should begin coverage of the arrival of the Soyuz spacecraft.

Soyuz Mission Control
Soyuz Mission Control
Image Credit: NASA TV

At 3:07 PM, the Soyuz is 400 meters from the ISS. It is closing at about 1.7 meters per second.

At 3:10 PM, the range is 300 meters, rate 0.9 meters per second. A fly around is being conducted outside the Zvezda module.

At 3:14 PM, there is a GO for final Approach.

At 3:17 PM, 80 meters.

At 3:21 PM, contact is confirmed. Four minutes ahead of schedule. These guys don’t waste any time.

The docking occurred 222 miles above the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Argentina.

ISS from Soyuz
ISS from Soyuz
Image Credit: NASA TV

Soyuz 300 Meters
Soyuz Closing At 80 Meters
Image Credit: NASA TV

ISS from Soyuz
The Docking Location for the Soyuz TMA-19
Image Credit: NASA TV

Approaching the Zvezda Docking Port
Image Credit: NASA TV

Soyuz TMA-19 Launch

TMA-19 Mission Patch
TMA-19 Mission Patch

At 1:35 PM Phoenix time, we are 60 minutes from the launch of Soyuz TMA-19, taking Fyodor Yurchikhin, Shannon Walker and Douglas Wheelock to the International Space Station as part of Expedition 24. The scheduled launch time from the Baikonur Cosmodrome is 2:35 PM Phoenix time (21:35 UTC).

Currently, the crew is on board the Soyuz space capsule. The vehicle is due to dock to the ISS Zvezda module on Thursday 17 June at 3:25 PM Phoenix time (22:25 UTC).

Live coverage is being broadcast on Tsenki-TV.

Soyuz TMA-19 T-2 Hrs
Soyuz TMA-19 90 minutes before Launch
Image Credit: Tsenki-TV

Inside the Soyuz Capsule at T-60 minutes
Image Credit: Tsenki-TV

At 1:55 PM Phoenix time, we are 40 minutes from launch.

At 2:05 PM, we are 30 minutes from launch, and the emergency escape system has been armed.

At T-25 minutes, the Service Towers have been withdrawn.

Service Towers
Service Towers Lowered at T-25 minutes
Image Credit: Tsenki-TV

T-15 minutes
Image Credit: Tsenki-TV

2:25 PM, T-10 Minutes.

T-5 Minutes.

Range clear for launch.

T-90 Seconds.


60 Seconds into the flight and all systems are nominal.

3 Minutes and the boosters have separated.

Second stage is good.

Image Credit: Tsenki-TV

Image Credit: Tsenki-TV

Third stage has shutdown.

Spacecraft has separated.

Solar arrays have deployed.

Image Credit: Tsenki-TV

Third Stage Burn
Third Stage Burn
Image Credit: Tsenki-TV

Soyuz TMA-19

Russia is preparing to launch Soyuz TMA-19 mission on Tuesday, 15 June 2010. Scheduled launch time from the Baikonur Cosmodrome is 2:35 PM Phoenix time (21:35 UTC). The crew aboard TMA-19 will be Fyodor Yurchikhin, Shannon Walker and Douglas Wheelock. Together with the crew of TMA-18 (Alexander Skvortsov, Tracy Caldwell Dyson and Mikhail Kornienko) who are currently at the International Space Station (ISS), the six make up Expedition 24.

Coverage by NASA TV begins at 1:00 PM Phoenix time.

The vehicle is due to dock to the ISS Zvezda module on Thursday 17 June at 3:25 PM Phoenix time (22:25 UTC).

Check out the images on Flickr for Expedition 24.

Soyuz Capsule
Soyuz Capsule Mating to the Soyuz-FG Rocket
Image Credit: Energia

Soyuz Rocket on Launch Pad
Soyuz Rocket on Launch Pad at Baikonur
Image Credit: Energia