December 21, 2011.
Soyuz TMA-03M launched to the International Space Station! O. Kononenko (Roscosmos), astronauts D. Pettit (NASA) and A. Kuipers (ESA) are in orbit
In accordance with the mission plan of the International Space Station (ISS) and Russian commitments under this international project, a manned transportation spacecraft Soyuz TMA-03M was launched from Baikonur launch site at 05:16:15 PM Moscow Time.
The objective of the launch is to deliver to ISS a crew of three in order bring the crew of Expedition Thirty (ISS-30) up to six.
The crew of Soyuz TMA-03M consists of: Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko (spacecraft commander), astronaut of the European Space Agency Andre Kuipers (spacecraft flight engineer) and US astronaut Donald Pettit (flight engineer-2 of the spacecraft).
The spacecraft was put into a parking low-Earth orbit with the following parameters: 51.65 ° inclination , 198.93 km minimal altitude, 267.02 km maximum altitude, 88.87 minutes orbital period.
The onboard systems of the spacecraft operate normally.
At the launch site, the spacecraft prelaunch processing and launch were performed under the direction of the State Commission (chaired by the head of Roscosmos V.A. Popovkin). The Commission was basing its decisions to proceed with each next step in processing and launching on the final report of the Technical Management headed by the President of RSC Energia, Designer General V.A. Lopota.
According to the telemetry data and reports from the crew of ISS, the space station systems operate normally. The station is ready for docking with the spacecraft. .
- S.P. Korolev RSC Energia is the prime manned space flight organization in the Russian rocket and space industry, responsible for the development of the ISS Russian Segment, its integration into the Space Station and its operation, including development and operation of its principal modules (Zvezda, Pirs, Poisk, Rassvet, etc.), manufacturing, launch and operation of Soyuz TMA and Progress M spacecraft.
- Currently working onboard ISS are cosmonauts A. Shkaplerov
and A. Ivanishin (Roscosmos), and astronaut D. Burbank
- The docking of Soyuz TMA-03M with ISS is scheduled for December 23, 2011 at 07:23 PM Moscow Time.
- The manned transportation spacecraft Soyuz TMA-03M is the third spacecraft in a new series built on the basis of Soyuz TMA spacecraft. The launch of the first spacecraft in this series took place on October 08, 2010. The purpose, the mission, and key performance data of the Soyuz TMA-M-series spacecraft are the same as for the generic spacecraft. The upgrades that have been introduced is one of the measures aimed at the development of the new-generation manned transportation spacecraft. Flight certification of new devices and equipment installed onboard the manned transportation spacecraft Soyuz TMA-M will make it possible to make the proper decisions with respect to the new-generation manned transportation spacecraft.