October 1, 2005. Baikonur Cosmodrom.
The Russian manned transport spacecraft Soyuz TMA-7, developed
and manufactured by S.P.Korolev Rocket and Space Corporation
Energia, has been launched to the International Space Station
(ISS) from the Launch Pad No.1 of the Baikonur launch site.
The launch of the integrated launch vehicle Soyuz-FG carrying Soyuz TMA-7 was
accomplished at 07:54:53 Moscow Daylight Saving Time.
The launch is aimed at the delivery of the Expedition Twelve (ISS-12) crew to
the ISS and scheduled rotation of the Expedition Eleven (ISS-11) crew and changeover
of Soyuz TMA-6 spacecraft, which had been operating within the orbital station
as a crew rescue vehicle since April 17, 2005.
Soyuz TMA-7 carries on board a Russian cosmonaut, colonel in the Russian Air
Force, Valeri Tokarev (spacecraft commander; flight engineer of ISS-12), a NASA
astronaut from the Johnson Space Center, William McArthur (spacecraft flight
engineer, commander of ISS-12) and a spaceflight participant, a citizen of the
United States, Gregory Olsen.
The ISS-12 crew is assigned with a task to support functionality of the ISS Orbital
Complex throughout 182 days, implement the program of science and application
research under the Expedition 12 and Visiting Crew 9 (VC 9) programs and commercial
contracts, conduct extravehicular activities. The crew will have to perform operations
for undocking of Soyuz TMA-6, Progress M-54, docking and undocking Soyuz TMA-7
spacecraft and U.S. Space Shuttles on returning to their flights to the station,
docking, unloading and joint handling of Progress M-55 onboard the station, docking
of Soyuz TMA-8 spacecraft. G. Olsen will work in orbit under the VC-9 program
for ten days and return to the Earth by Soyuz TMA-6 spacecraft together with
the ISS-11 crew.
The spacecraft is inserted into a near-earth orbit with parameters: the inclination
of 51.65°, minimum altitude of 201.32 km, maximum altitude of 250.32 km, period
of 88.71 min.
The ISS-11 crew consisting of a Russian cosmonaut Sergei Krikalev (commander),
and U.S. astronaut John Phillips (flight-engineer) performed required operations
to prepare the orbital complex for docking.
The spacecraft docking is scheduled for October 3, 2005. The estimated time of
a contact with the Pirs docking module of the ISS is approximately 09:32.
The decision on the launch of the Soyuz-FG/Soyuz TMA-7 was made by the State
Board (co-chairmen of the State Board are N.F. Moiseev, Deputy Director of Roskosmos,
and V.A. Grin, Deputy General Director of TsNII of Machine-Building) based on
the statement on the readiness of the complex and ground infrastructure components
involved in the ISS program implementation made by the Technical Management chaired
by N.N. Sevastyanov, RSC Energia President, General Designer for Manned Space
Complexes and Technical Manager of Flight Tests.
The manned spacecraft processing and launch were conducted under a technical
management of N.I. Zelenschikov, First Vice-President, First Deputy General Designer
of RSC Energia.
During the final prelaunch operations, launch and spacecraft insertion into a
near-earth orbit the Baikonur launch site was attended by A.N.Perminov, Director
of the Federal Space Agency (Roskosmos), M. Griffin, NASA Administrator and W.
Gerstenmaier, NASA Associate Administrator, N.F. Moiseev and V.A. Grin, co-chairmen
of the State Board, A.B. Krasnov, Head of Piloted Programs Department of Roskosmos,
V.V.Tsibliev, Director of Yu.A. Gagarin CTC RGNII, responsible representatives
of Roskosmos, NASA, S.P. Korolev RSC Energia, allied space enterprises and organizations,
participating in the realization of the ISS Project.
The progress of prelaunch processing and launch were observed by the deputies
of the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of RF, representatives of foreign space
agencies, business circles of Russia and Kazakhstan, as well as leading Russian
and foreign information agencies and TV companies.
The spacecraft and ISS Russian Segment flight is commanded by the Lead Operational
Control Team working in the Moscow Mission Control Center (The Flight Director
is V.A. Soloviev, Vice-President of S.P.Korolev RSC Energia, Deputy General Designer,
The launch of Soyuz TMA-7 spacecraft is the 11th launch covered by the Russian
obligations under the ISS program and the 117th launch from the beginning of
operation of the Soyuz spacecraft (1966), developed and being manufactured by
RSC Energia in cooperation with space enterprises.