Three Soyuz Crew Members Launch for Two Day Trip to Station

Expedition 45 Soyuz Launch from Kazakhstan. Credit: ESA
Soyuz TMA-18M launches to the International Space Station on September 2 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Credit: ESA/S. Corvaja

The Soyuz TMA-18M launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to the International Space Station at 12:37 a.m. EDT Wednesday (10:37 a.m. in Baikonur). At launch, the station was flying 250 miles above south-central Kazakhstan, having passed over the Baikonur Cosmodrome less than a minute before liftoff. Sergey Volkov of Roscosmos, Andreas Mogensen of ESA (European Space Agency) and Aidyn Aimbetov of the Kazakh Space Agency are now are safely in orbit.

NASA TV coverage continues at https://www.nasa.gov/nasatv.

They are on a two-day course to dock to the station at 3:42 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 4. NASA TV coverage of docking will begin at 3 a.m.

With the arrival of Volkov, Mogensen and Aimbetov, nine people will be aboard the orbiting laboratory for the first time since 2013. 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).

At 2:40 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 5, NASA TV will provide a live broadcast as Padalka hands over command of the space station to Kelly. Expedition 45 begins on Sept. 11 when Padalka, Mogensen and Aimbetov undock from the orbiting outpost in the Soyuz spacecraft designated TMA-16M and return to Earth. The Soyuz TMA-16M carried Padalka, Kelly, and Kornienko to space in March. Because each Soyuz remains in orbit for about six months, the spacecraft swap is necessary during the one-year mission.

Below is the timeline for the remainder of the crew’s trip to the orbiting laboratory.

Wednesday  Sept. 2, 2015

EDT                 EVENT
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)

Thursday      Sept. 3, 2015

EDT                 EVENT
1:39 am         DV-3 burn (4.4 mph / 6.5 fps)
11:00 am      NASA TV:     “Space Station Live” (daily program)

Friday Sept. 4, 2015

EDT                 EVENT
1:15 am         Automated Rendezvous & Docking (AR&D) start
1:35 am         US Motion Control Sys handover to Russian segment
1:35:08 am   AR&D Impulse 1 (65.5 mph / 96 fps)
1:40 am         Station maneuvers to docking attitude
1:58 am         AR&D Impulse 2 (2.9 mph / 4.2 fps)
2:01:05 am   Range 124 miles – establish Soyuz VHF-2 voice link
2:01:30 am   Soyuz Kurs-A (Active) activation
2:03:30 am   Service Module (Zvezda) Kurs-P (Passive) activation
2:20 am         AR&D Impulse 3 (91.8 mph / 134.7 fps)
2:27 am         Range 49.7 miles – Valid Kurs-P range data
2:48 am         Range 9.3 miles (49,212 ft) – Kurs-A & -P short test
2:56 am         Range 4.9 miles (26,247 ft) – Soyuz TV activation
2:58 am         SCAN & RapidScat inhibit–NLT (3.7 miles / 19,685 ft)
3:00 am         NASA TV:      DOCKING COVERAGE BEGINS
3:03 am         AR&D Impulse 4 (16 mph / 23 fps)
3:04 am         AR&D Ballistic Targeting Point
3:08 am         AR&D Impulse 5 (13 mph / 19 fps)
3:10 am         AR&D Impulse 6 (4.6 mph / 6.8 fps)
3:13 am         Sunrise
3:13 am         Fly-around mode start
3:23 am         Station keeping start
3:31 am         Final approach start
3:42 am         Docking to MRM2–“Poisk”

  • 250 miles up & above eastern Kazakhstan
  • Station to free drift

3:55 am         Soyuz & Poisk hooks closed

  • Station maneuvers to LVLH attitude

4:13 am         Sunset
4:35 am         Russian to US Motion Control System handover
5:45 am         NASA TV: HATCH/WELCOME COVERAGE
6:15 am                     Hatch opening & welcome ceremony

  • Includes VIP & family calls from Baikonur

8:00 am         NASA TV: Docking, hatches & welcome highlights
11:00 am      NASA TV:     “Space Station Live” (daily program)

Watch Soyuz Rocket Launch on NASA TV at 11:45 p.m. EDT

Soyuz Rocket on Launch Pad
The Soyuz TMA-18M rocket that will launch three new crew members to the International Space Station sits on its pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Credit: RSC Energia

Sergey Volkov of Roscosmos, Andreas Mogensen of ESA (European Space Agency) and Aidyn Aimbetov of the Kazakh Space Agency have boarded the Russian Soyuz TMA-18M spacecraft that will carry them to the International Space Station. All is on track for liftoff at 12:37 a.m. EDT Wednesday. NASA Television coverage of the launch will begin at 11:45 p.m. Watch on NASA TV or at: https://www.nasa.gov/nasatv.

The crew will make 34 orbits of Earth in two days en route to the station before arriving Friday, Sept. 4. 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). It will be the first time since 2013 that nine people will be aboard the orbiting laboratory.

The trip enables Roscosmos to rotate a crew member and a Soyuz spacecraft. Volkov will remain aboard the station for the next six months, returning in March 2016 with one-year mission crew members Kelly and Kornienko in the Soyuz TMA-18M. Padalka, who launched in March with Kelly and Kornienko in the Soyuz TMA-16M, will return to Earth in that spacecraft on Sept. 11 with Mogensen and Aimbetov. Each Soyuz remains in orbit for about six months.

To join the online conversation about the mission, follow @Space_Station and the hashtag #ISS.

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 https://www.nasa.gov/nasatv 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)
11:45 pm       NASA TV:      LAUNCH COVERAGE BEGINS
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 https://www.nasa.gov/station. 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: https://www.nasa.gov/connect

Soyuz Rocket Rolls Out Before Sept. 2 Crew Launch

The Soyuz TMA-18M Rocket
The Soyuz TMA-18M rocket sits atop its launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan after rolling out from the Integration Facility Monday morning. Credit: NASA TV

An international crew of three is getting ready for a two-day ride to the International Space Station. The Soyuz rocket that will lift them to space rolled out to its launch pad today at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Veteran cosmonaut Sergei Volkov will command the Soyuz TMA-18M spacecraft that will launch Sept. 2 at 12:37 a.m. EDT. Joining him for the trip to the station will be first time flyers Andreas Mogensen from the European Space Agency and Aidyn Aimbetov from Kazcosmos, the National Space Agency of the Republic of Kazakhstan. NASA Television will broadcast the launch and docking activities live.

Onboard the orbital laboratory the One-Year crew members Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko took part in a variety of human research experiments. They studied how microgravity affects vision and explored how spacecraft design influences crew performance.

NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren and Japanese astronaut Kimiya Yui unpacked the Multipurpose Small Payload Rack-2 (MSPR-2) from the new HTV-5 resupply ship today.  The MSPR-2, which houses small science payloads, was installed in the Japanese Kibo laboratory module.

Completed Soyuz Relocation Sets Stage for New Crew

Aug. 28, 2015 International Space Station Configuration
(Clockwise from top) The Soyuz TMA-16M spacecraft is docked to the Zvezda service module. The ISS Progress 60 spacecraft is docked to the Pirs docking compartment. The Soyuz TMA-17M spacecraft is docked to the Rassvet mini-research module. Japan’s “Kounotori” HTV-5 is berthed to the Harmony module.

International Space Station Expedition 44 Commander Gennady Padalka of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) and Flight Engineers Scott Kelly of NASA and Mikhail Kornienko of Roscosmos docked their Soyuz TMA-16M spacecraft to the orbiting laboratory’s Zvezda service module at 3:30 a.m. EDT. The crew members undocked from the Poisk module at 3:12 a.m.

The move of the Soyuz spacecraft clears the Poisk module for the arrival of Expedition 45 crew member Sergei Volkov of Roscosmos, and visiting crew members Andreas Mogensen of ESA (European Space Agency) and Aidyn Aimbetov of the Kazakh Space Agency. They are scheduled to launch to the station in a Soyuz spacecraft designated TMA-18M at 12:37 a.m. Wednesday (10:37 a.m. Baikonur time), Sept. 2 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

This will be the first time since November 2013 that nine crew members will be aboard the station simultaneously. Mogensen and Aimbetov will return to Earth with Padalka on Saturday, Sept. 12 in the Soyuz TMA-16M that was just relocated. In March 2016, the arriving Soyuz TMA-18M will return with Volkov, as well as one-year mission crew members Kelly and Kornienko, who arrived on station in March to begin collecting biomedical data crucial to NASA’s human journey to Mars.

Stay up to date about the latest crew activities and research being conducted on the station at https://www.nasa.gov/station.

Watch Soyuz Relocation on NASA TV Now

Expedition 44 crew members
Expedition 44 crew members Scott Kelly, Gennady Padalka and Mikhail Kornienko will ride the Soyuz TMA-18M spacecraft to a new docking port this morning. Credit: NASA TV

NASA Television is providing live coverage of the relocation of a Soyuz spacecraft from one port to another on the International Space Station. The relocation is scheduled to begin at 3:11 a.m. EDT and last about 25 minutes. Watch the relocation live on NASA Television or at https://www.nasa.gov/nasatv.

The Russian Soyuz TMA-16M spacecraft, with Expedition 44 Commander Gennady Padalka of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) and Flight Engineers Scott Kelly of NASA and Mikhail Kornienko of Roscosmos aboard, will undock from the Poisk module and redock at the aft port of the Zvezda service module.

The relocation, the 17th such maneuver on the orbiting laboratory, will open a third docking port for the arrival of a new Soyuz vehicle, designated TMA-18M, carrying three additional crew members. That Soyuz spacecraft is scheduled to launch to the station next Wednesday, Sept. 2 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, carrying Expedition 45 crew member Sergei Volkov of Roscosmos and visiting crew members Andreas Mogensen of ESA (European Space Agency) and Aidyn Aimbetov of the Kazakh Space Agency.

Join the conversation on Twitter by following @Space_Station and the hashtag #ISS.

Watch Live NASA TV Coverage of Soyuz Spacecraft Relocation

Soyuz Spacecraft Relocates
In 2010 a Soyuz spacecraft carrying three Expedition 22 crew members undocked from the Zvezda service module and relocated to the Poisk module.

Half the residents of the International Space Station will take a spin around their orbital neighborhood in the Soyuz TMA-16M spacecraft in the early hours of Friday, Aug. 28. NASA Television coverage will begin at 2:45 a.m. EDT.

Expedition 44 Commander Gennady Padalka of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) and Flight Engineers Scott Kelly of NASA and Mikhail Kornienko of Roscosmos will move the Soyuz from the station’s Poisk module to the Zvezda docking port. The relocation maneuver will begin with undocking at 3:12 a.m. and end with redocking at 3:37 a.m.

The relocation will free the Poisk module for the docking of a new Soyuz vehicle, designated TMA-18M, carrying three additional crew members, and scheduled to launch to the station Wednesday, Sept. 2 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Aboard will be Expedition 45 crew member Sergei Volkov of Roscosmos and visiting crew members Andreas Mogensen of ESA (European Space Agency) and Aidyn Aimbetov of the Kazakh Space Agency.

Join the conversation on Twitter by following @Space_Station and the hashtag #ISS. To learn more about all the ways to connect and collaborate with NASA, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/connect.

Spacecraft Moving to New Port Before New Crew Launches

Scott Kelly, Gennady Padalka and Mikhail Kornienko
The Soyuz relocation crew members (from left) Scott Kelly, Gennady Padalka and Mikhail Kornienko.

The six-person Expedition 44 space station crew is getting ready to expand to nine people next week. A docked Soyuz vehicle will be moved early Friday morning making room for a new Soyuz spacecraft carrying Sergei Volkov, a new Expedition 45 crew member, and two visiting crew members Andreas Mogensen and Aidyn Aimbetov.

The orbital residents will shift their schedules tonight as One-Year crew members Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko join Commander Gennady Padalka for a short Soyuz ride from one docking port to another. The relocation opens up a port for a new Soyuz crew launching Sept. 2 and docking two days later.

As usual, advanced medical science is ongoing in the orbital laboratory with inputs from payload controllers on the ground and direct participation of the astronauts. Eye studies continued today as scientists observe microgravity’s long-term effects on a crew member’s vision.

The crew continued exploring high intensity, low volume exercise to prevent muscle and bone loss in space. They also explored the effects of fatigue due to packed work schedules and sleep loss resulting from the disruption of the normal sunrise/sunset schedule.

Veteran Trio Will Move Soyuz to New Port Friday

Soyuz TMA-16M Spacecraft
The Soyuz TMA-16M spacecraft is seen approaching the International Space Station before docking to the Poisk module on March 27, 2015.

Commander Gennady Padalka will back the Soyuz TMA-16M spacecraft from its Poisk module docking port Friday morning. One-Year crew members Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko will come along for the 25-minute ride and redock to the Zvezda service module port.

The trio reviewed their procedures for the Soyuz relocation maneuver scheduled to begin Friday at 3:12 a.m. EDT. NASA TV will cover the activities live starting at 2:45 a.m.

Japan’s fifth “Kounotori” resupply ship is being unloaded today bringing fresh fruit, research gear and other supplies. Meanwhile, the six-member Expedition 44 crew worked numerous science experiments today studying eye health, plant growth, circadian rhythms and the risk of infection by microorganisms during a space mission.

Crew Begins Unloading Japanese Cargo Ship

Astronaut Kimiya Yui
Astronaut Kimiya Yui seemingly juggles fresh fruit upside down after opening the hatches and entering Japan’s fifth “Kounotori” resupply ship. Credit: NASA TV

The crew opened the hatches today to Japan’s fifth “Kounotori” resupply ship (HTV-5) and began unloading new supplies and science gear. The station residents also studied human research and reviewed changes to emergency procedures.

The HTV-5 arrived Monday morning carrying cargo and science for the crew and external experiments to be attached to the Kibo laboratory module. The external research gear includes the CALET dark matter study, the NanoRacks External Platform and a flock of 14 CubeSats.

One-Year crew members Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko are 151 days into their mission. The duo participated in research today looking at the long-term effects of microgravity on the human body. They collected blood and urine samples for the Fluid Shifts study which observes physical changes to an astronaut’s eyes during a space mission.