October 12, 2008, Baikonur launch site, branch office of S.P.Korolev RSC Energia

In accordance with the mission plan of the International Space Station (ISS) and Russian commitments under this project, a manned transportation spacecraft Soyuz TMA-13 was launched from Baikonur launch site at 11:01 Moscow Time.
The objective of the launch was to deliver to ISS the Expedition 18 crew (ISS-18): cosmonaut Yu. Lonchakov (Russia) and astronaut M. Fincke (USA), as well as a space flight participant R. Garriotte (USA) under the program of the Visiting Mission 15.
The spacecraft was put into a parking low-Earth orbit with the following parameters: 51.65 inclination, 200.7 km minimal altitude, 259.89 km maximum altitude, 88.81 minutes orbital period.
The onboard systems of the spacecraft operate normally.
At the launch site, the spacecraft prelaunch processing and its launch were performed under the direction of the State Commission (chaired by the head of Roscosmos A.N.Perminov). The Commission was basing its decisions to proceed with each next step in processing and launching on the opinions 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 Expedition 17, the space station systems operate in normal mode. The station is ready for docking with the spacecraft.

 For reference:
1. Currently working onboard ISS is the ISS-17 crew consisting of: Sergei Volkov (cosmonaut tester of Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center, crew commander), Oleg Kononenko (cosmonaut tester of S.P.Korolev RSC Energia, flight engineer-1) and Gregory Chamitoff (NASA astronaut, flight engineer-2).

2. S.P. Korolev RSC Energia is a leading Russian rocket and space industrial enterprise in the area of manned space flight programs, responsible for development, integration and operation of the ISS Russian Segment, including development and operation of the main Russian modules (Zvezda, Pirs and others), manufacturing, launch and operation of Soyuz TMA, Progress M vehicles.

3. The vehicle is slated to dock to the ISS on October 14, 2008 at 12:38 Moscow time.

Some hours before the launch...




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