April 4, 2010. S.P. Korolev RSC Energia - MCC-M,
Korolev, Moscow region
The Russian manned transportation spacecraft Soyuz TMA-18 has docked with the International Space Station (ISS).
The spacecraft approached ISS after two days of free flight in low Earth orbit. Rendezvous with the space station, its fly-around, stationkeeping and docking were performed in automatic mode.
The initial contact with the docking port on the Poisk module of the Russian segment of the space station occurred at 09:24:50 Moscow Time.
Final flight operations in the course of the spacecraft rendezvous and docking with the space station were conducted under the supervision of the State Commission and the Technical Management for the flight testing of manned space systems. The Chairman of the State Commission is the head of the Federal Space Agency A.N. Perminov. The Technical Management for flight tests of manned space systems is headed by the RSC Energia President and General Designer V.A. Lopota.
After a leak test of the Soyuz TMA-18 compartments and the docking tunnel, and equalization of pressure in the space station and the spacecraft, the transfer hatches were opened. The spacecraft crew transferred to the Russian segment of the ISS.
A joint international crew of 6 began its work on-board the space station.
The crew consists of: three Russian cosmonauts - Oleg Kotov, Alexander Skvortsov and Mikhail Kornienko, two NASA astronauts - Timothy Creamer and Tracy Caldwell-Dyson, an astronaut of the Japanese Space Agency - Soichi Noguchi.
Four Russian spacecraft currently operate as parts of ISS: Soyuz TMA-17, Soyuz TMA-18, Progress M-03M, and Progress M-04M.
On-board systems of ISS and the spacecraft operate normally.
The Mission Control Center near Moscow (MCC-M), from where the spacecraft rendezvous and docking with the ISS were controlled, held a press conference for journalists of the Russian and foreign mass media, and also conducted the first communications session with the space station crew.
- RSC Energia is the prime organization for developing and operating the ISS Russian segment, its modules (Zvezda, Pirs, Poisk, etc.), and spacecraft Soyuz TMA and Progress M/M1.
- Mission control for the ISS Russian Segment and the spacecraft is provided by the Lead Operations Control Team (LOCT) of MCC-M. LOCT is headed by the Flight Director, RSC Energia First Deputy General Designer V.A. Soloviev.