April 19, 2004. Baikonur Cosmodrome.
Soyuz TMA-4 manned transport spacecraft being the fourth
modified spacecraft developed and manufactured at S.P. Korolev
RSC Energia was launched.
The launch of Souyz-FG integrated launch vehicle with the
manned spacecraft was accomplished at 7:19 Moscow time.
The purpose of the launch is to bring up the ISS Expedition
9 crew (ISS-9) to the International Space Station; carry
out a planned rotation of the ISS Expedition 8 crew (ISS-8)
and Soyuz TMA-3, which has been used as a crew rescue vehicle
as part of the International Space Station since 20 October
2003, perform on-orbit activities under the sixth visiting
crew (VC-3) program, including space experiments and investigations
under the DSM Delta Project, and maintain the station and
its systems functionality.
Russian Soyuz-TMA spacecraft keep supporting the station
piloted flight by delivering the ISS Expedition crews to
the station and returning them to ground, that was previously
foreseen for the US Space Shuttle, which flights were suspended
after February 1, 2003.
The station logistics and maintenance are currently supported
exclusively by the Russian means, namely Souyz TMA manned
spacecraft and Progress M logistics vehicles in implementing
the ISS flight program by the increment crew reduced to
two crewmembers, reduced upload and download mass and content,
number and scope of space experiments and investigations.
Soyuz-TMA crew consists of Gennady Padalka (spacecraft commander,
ISS-9 commander, second space flight), American astronaut
Mike Fincke (ISS-9 flight engineer, spacecraft flight engineer
2, first space flight) and European Space Astronaut (ESA),
citizen of the Kingdom of the Netherlands Andre Kuipers
(spacecraft flight engineer 1, first space flight). Andres
Kuipers is to work on the station under the VC-6 program
and return to the ground with the ISS-8 on Soyuz TMA-3.
The flight of Soyuz TMA-4 bears a designation of 8S in accordance
with the ISS program.
The main tasks of the ISS-9 expedition are rotation of the
previous increment crew, maintenance of the station flight
in a manned mode within 183 days as scheduled until the
next crew rotation, including support of the docking and
undocking operations for Russian Soyuz TMA, Progress M transportation-maintenance
vehicles in accordance with the planned program, performance
of two egresses into space; implementation of the program
of science and applied research and experiments, support
of activities under the visiting crew programs and commercial
Soyuz TMA-4 was injected into orbit with the following parameters:
inclination of 51.66?, minimum altitude of 199,5 km, maximum
altitude of 251,7 km, revolution of 88.73 min.
The ISS-8 crew consisting of Russian cosmonaut Alexander
Kaleri (Soyuz TMA-3 commander, ISS-8 flight engineer) and
U.S. NASA astronaut Michael Foale (Soyuz TMA-3 flight engineer,
ISS-8 commander) performed necessary activities to prepare
the on-orbit complex for the docking.
The spacecraft docking is slated on 21 April 2004. The design
time of a contact to the port of functional cargo block
Zarya of the ISS is at approximately 9:03 Moscow time.
Soyuz-FG/Soyuz TMA-4 rocket and space complex was processed
under control of the technical management (Yu.P. Semenov,
Technical Manager/General Designer of S.P. Korolev RSC Energia,
Academician of RAS).
The decision about the launch was taken by the State Board
based on the conclusion of the Technical management about
the readiness of the space complex and ground infrastructure
components to be involved in implementation of the ISS program.
The Technical management is composed of general and chief
designers, managers of the developers and manufactures of
the space complex elements, systems and assemblies.
The launch was watched by the director of the Federal Space
Agency, A.N. Perminov, representatives of FSA, NASA, ESA
and other foreign space agencies, Parliament of the Kingdom
of the Netherlands, business circles of Russia, the Netherlands
and France, as well as leading and foreign information agencies
and TV companies.
The spacecraft flight is commanded by the Lead Operational
Control Team (LOCT) at the Mission Control Center (MCC-M),
Moscow area, working in close cooperation with the specialists
of the U.S. Mission Control Center (Houston).
The LOCT includes the managers and leading specialists from
S.P. Korolev RSC Energia, experts from other enterprises
Soyuz TMA-4 is flying in accordance with the specified program,
the spacecraft onboard systems operate nominally. The crewmembers