15.04.2005, Baikonur Cosmodrome.
The Soyuz TMA-6 manned transport spacecraft developed
and manufactured at S.P. Korolev Rocket & Space Corporation
Energia was launched from the launch complex of Site #1
known as the Gagarin start.
The launch of the Souyz-FG integrated launch vehicle with
the manned spacecraft was accomplished at 04:46:27 Moscow
The launch is intended to deliver the main expedition crew-11
(ISS-11) to the International Space Station; to carry out
a planned replacement of expedition crew-10 (ISS-10) and
the Soyuz TMA-5, which has been operating within the International
Space Station since October 16, 2004, performing functions
of the crew rescue vehicle; performance of activities under
the visiting crew 8 program (VC-8), including conduct of
experiments and research within the Eneida project, maintenance
of the functionality of the station and its systems.
At present, the station transport-engineering support is
provided solely by Russian vehicles – Soyuz TMA manned
spacecraft and Progress M cargo vehicles – while the ISS
mission program is being implemented with a reduced size
(to two men) of the main crew, a reduced mass and complement
of cargoes being delivered and returned, the number and
scopes of space experiments and researches performed.
At a period of the ISS-11 expedition performance the U.S.
party plans to recommence flights of the shuttles: Discovery
STS-114 (May 15-25) and Atlantis STS-121 (July 12-21).
It is expected that during the second flight a long-duration
mission of an ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut will
begin to verify integration and readiness of the Zvezda
service module equipment for joint operations with the
first European cargo vehicle Jules Verne.
The Soyuz TMA-6 crew includes Sergei Krikalev (spacecraft
commander, ISS-11 commander, the sixth space flight), U.S
astronaut John Phillips (ISS-11 flight-engineer, spacecraft
flight-engineer-1, the second space flight) and ESA astronaut,
citizen of Italy Roberto Vittori (spacecraft flight-engineer-2,
the second space flight). Roberto Vittori is to work at
the station under the visiting crew program and to return
to the ground with the ISS-10 on board the Soyuz TMA-5
The major tasks of the ISS-11 expedition include: replacement
of the ISS-10 crew, maintenance of the station’s manned
mode throughout the scheduled 175 days to the next crew
rotation, support of undocking operations of Soyuz TMA-5,
Progress M-52, Soyuz TMA-6 spacecraft, docking, unloading
and attached activities aboard the station with Progress
M-53, Progress M-54, Soyuz TMA-7 spacecraft, performance
of one EVA; implementation of the program of science and
application research and experiments, support of activities
under the visiting expedition programs and commercial contracts,
return to the ground on board the Soyuz TMA-6 spacecraft.
The Soyuz TMA-6 spacecraft is inserted into a near-earth
orbit with parameters: the inclination of 51.66°, minimum
altitude of 198.55 km, maximum altitude of 245.50 km, period
of 88.68 min.
The ISS-10 crew consisting of Russian cosmonaut Salizhan
Sharipov (Soyuz TMA-5 commander, ISS-10 flight-engineer)
and NASA astronaut Leroy Chiao (Soyuz TMA-5 flight-engineer,
ISS-10 commander) performed required operations to prepare
the orbital complex for docking.
The spacecraft docking is scheduled for April 17, 2005.
The estimated time of a contact of the Pirs docking module
of the ISS in-orbit complex is approximately 06:19.
The decision on the launch was made by the State Commission
based on the Technical Management conclusion on the readiness
of the complex and ground infrastructure components involved
in the ISS program implementation.
The Technical Management includes general and chief designers,
managers of enterprises – designers and manufacturers of
complex’s components, systems and assemblies.
Representatives of the Federal Space Agency, NASA, ESA
and other foreign space agencies, business circles of Russia,
Italy, as well as leading Russian and foreign information
agencies and TV companies observed the launch process.
The Main Operative Management Group (MOMG) located at the
Moscow Mission Control Center (MCC-M) and interfacing with
specialists of the U.S. Mission Control Center (MCC-H)
performs the spacecraft flight control.
MOMG includes managers and leading specialists of S.P.
Korolev RSC Energia, specialists of other enterprises and
The Soyuz TMA-6 flight is proceeding in line with the approved
program, its onboard systems operate with no comments.
The crewmembers feel well.