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Soyuz TMA-16M has delivered a crew of participants in a one-year mission to the ISS

March 28, 2015

Manned transportation spacecraft Soyuz TMA-16M carrying an international crew consisting of Roscosmos cosmonauts Gennady Padalka, Mikhail Kornienko and the NASA astronaut Scott Kelly has successfully docked with the International Space Station (ISS).

Launch vehicle Soyuz FG with manned spacecraft Soyuz TMA-16M was launched from the Baikonur launch site on March 27 at 22:42 Moscow Time. After performing a rendezvous with the ISS using a quick 4-orbit profile, on March 28 at 04:34 Moscow Time the spacecraft docked with the Mini Research Module Poisk. About two hours after the docking, the transfer hatches opened and the spacecraft crew met with Anton Shkaplerov of Russia, Terry Virts of US and Samantha Cristoforetti of Italy who are currently staying onboard the station.

The Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko and the US astronaut Scott Kelly will work in orbit for one year - from March 27, 2015 through March 3, 2016. During that time they are to conduct many scientific, engineering, medical, astrophysical, and other experiments, the results of which are to bring humanity one step closer to deep-space manned missions.

In particular, within the framework of an extensive science program, M. Kornienko is to perform 14 Russian experiments dedicated to space medicine and physiology. These are experiments "Algometry", "Vzaimodeistvie-2", "DAN", "Cardiovector", "Content", "Correction", "MORZE", "Motocard", "Neuroimmunity", "Parodont-2", "Movement of fluids", "Pilot-T", "Splankh" and "UDOD". Specifically, the "Movement of fluids" experiment belongs to joint studies of Russian and US scientists and will be carried out by the two participants in the one-year mission using scientific equipment on the Russian and US segments of the ISS.

The Russian cosmonaut also gave his consent to participate in five US experiments: "Fine Motor Skills", "Ocular Health", "Reaction Self-Test", "Sleep Monitoring", "Cognition". In his turn, the US astronaut Scott Kelly consented to participate in two Russian experiments "Pilot-T" and "Vzaimodeistvie-2".

The mission of M.Kornienko and S.Kelly will be accompanied by a large number of dynamic operations. They are to take part in operations with cargo and manned spacecraft which are slated to be launched to the ISS within the next year. These include Russian cargo spacecraft Progress and manned spacecraft Soyuz, the US cargo spacecraft Dragon SpaceX, the Japanese cargo spacecraft HTV. Scheduled for July 2015 is a spacewalk under the program of the ISS Russian Segment, in the course of which Mikhail Kornienko together with Gennadi Padalka are going to try out a new technology for cleaning the panes of the station windows using special equipment. Scheduled for August 24 is a special operation to relocate one of the Soyuz spacecraft from one docking port to another.

The manned transportation spacecraft of the new series Soyuz TMA-M developed and built by RSC Energia is an upgraded version of the Soyuz TMA spacecraft. It is equipped with new devices for the motion control and navigation system and an improved onboard measurement system. All the devices are built around state-of-the-art electronic components and run the latest software. The upgrade made it possible to reduce the mass of the onboard equipment and thus enhance the capability to deliver payload to orbit.

The spacecraft is designed to deliver the crews of up to three and their accompanying cargoes to the International Space Station (ISS), as well as to return them to Earth. When attached to the ISS, Soyuz TMA-M serves as a crew rescue vehicle and is kept permanently ready for emergency crew return to Earth. This might be required in case of an emergency onboard the station, illness or injury of a crewmember.

 

JSC RSC Energia: the leader in the rocket and space industry, and the prime contractor for manned space systems. The Corporation conducts work on the development of unmanned space and rocket systems (launch vehicles and orbital transfer vehicles), and high-technology systems for various non-space applications. Since August 2014, the Corporation is headed by Vladimir Lvovich Solntsev.

 

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