Schedule of Pre-Launch Activities Before Tonight’s Soyuz Liftoff

Soyuz TMA-18M Crew Members

Soyuz TMA-18M crew members (from left) Aidyn Aimbetov, Sergey Volkov and Andreas Mogensen.

At the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, Sergey Volkov of Roscosmos, Andreas Mogensen of ESA (European Space Agency) and Aidyn Aimbetov of the Kazakh Space Agency are preparing for their launch to the International Space Station. Their journey to the station will begin with a lift off at 12:37 a.m. EDT Wednesday (10:37 a.m. in Baikonur). NASA TV will broadcast launch coverage live at beginning tonight at 11:45 p.m.

The three will join Expedition 44 Flight Engineers Scott Kelly and Kjell Lindgren of NASA, Commander Gennady Padalka and Flight Engineers Oleg Kononenko and Mikhail Kornienko of Roscosmos, and Kimiya Yui of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). With their arrival to the station on Friday, Sept. 4, nine people will be aboard the orbiting laboratory for the first time since 2013.

Below is the crew’s launch timeline.

Tuesday, Sept. 1

EDT                 EVENT
3:37 pm         Crew wakeup (L-9 hrs)
4:37 pm         Final countdown begins; Soyuz systems checks (L-8 hrs)
6:37 pm         Crew departs hotel (L-6 hrs)
6:52 pm         Batteries installed in booster (L-5 hrs, 45 min)
7:07 pm         State Commission “Go” (L-5 hrs, 30 min)
7:35 pm         Crew arrives at Bldg 254 / Final medical check-ups
7:37 pm         Tanking begins (L-5 hrs)
8:07 pm         Crew suit up (L-4 hrs, 30 min)
8:32 pm         Booster loaded with liquid Oxygen (L-4 hrs, 5 min)
9:07 pm         Crew greets family & friends (L-3 hrs, 30 min)
9:32 pm         1st & 2nd stage O2 fueling complete (L-3 hrs, 5 min)
9:37 pm         Crew walkout & report to State Commission
9:42 pm         Crew departs for launch pad – Site 1 (L-2 hrs, 55 min)
10:02 pm       Crew arrives at launch pad – Site 1 (L-2 hrs, 35 min)
10:12 pm       Crew boards Soyuz TMA-18M (L-2 hr, 25 min)
10:37 pm       Crew in re-entry vehicle (L-2 hrs)
10:52 pm       Re-entry vehicle hardware tested/suits ventilated
11:17 pm       Hatch closed; leak checks begin (L-1 hr, 20 min)
11:37 pm       Launch vehicle control sys prep; gyros active (L-1 hr)
11:52 pm       Pad service structure components lowered (L-45 min)
11:53 pm       Clamshell-like gantry service towers retracted
11:55 pm       NASA TV:      Crew pre-launch activities (B-roll)
Midnight         Suit leak checks; re-entry vehicle testing complete

Wednesday Sept. 2, 2015

EDT                 EVENT
12:03 am       Emergency escape system armed (L-34 min)
12:22 am       Suit leak checks complete; escape system to auto
12:27 am       Gyros “uncaged” & recorders activated (L-10 min)
12:30 am       Pre-launch operations complete (L-7 min)
12:31 am       Final launch countdown operations to auto (L-6 min)
• Launch complex/vehicle systems ready
12:32 am       Commander’s controls active/helmets closed (L-5 min)
• Launch key inserted (yes, a real key)
12:33 am       Combustion chamber nitrogen purge (L-4 min)
12:34 am       Booster propellant tank pressurization (drainback)
12:36:13 am Ground propellant feed terminated (L-90 seconds)
12:36:43 am Vehicle to internal power (L-60 seconds)
12:36:56 am  Station in-plane above Baikonur (L-47 seconds)
12:37:10 am Auto sequence start (L-35 seconds)
• First umbilical tower separates
12:37:13 am 3rd stage ground power umbilical separation (L-30 sec)
12:37:28 am Second umbilical tower separates (L-15 sec)
12:37:31 am Launch command issued (L-12 sec)
• Central / side pod engines start
12:37:33 am Engine turbopumps at flight speed (L-10 sec)
12:37:38 am Engines at maximum thrust (L-5 sec)
12:37:43 am LAUNCH (3 hrs, 37 min after sunrise)
• ISS 250 miles up, above south-central Kazakhstan
12:46:28 am Orbital insertion (L+8 min, 45 sec)
• ISS above China, 1,437 miles ahead of Soyuz
1:15 am         NASA TV:      PLAYBACK:  VIP interviews / launch replays
2:30 am         NASA TV:      PLAYBACK:  Launch related video highlights
4:12 am         DV-1 rendezvous burn (37 mph / 55 fps)
4:52 am         DV-2 burn (25 mph / 36 fps)
11:00 am      NASA TV:     “Space Station Live” (daily program)

To learn more about the International Space Station, visit To join the online conversation about the International Space Station, follow @Space_Station and the hashtag #ISS. Find all the ways to connect and collaborate with NASA at:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *