STORY WRITTEN FOR
& USED WITH PERMISSIONPosted: April 2, 2010
A Russian Soyuz spacecraft roared to life and rocketed away from its launching padin Kazakhstan early Friday, carrying two cosmonauts and a NASA astronaut on atwo-day flight to the International Space Station.
Credit: EnergiaSoyuz TMA-18 commander Alexander Skvortsov, flight engineer Mikhail Kornienko andTracy Caldwell Dyson, a shuttle veteran with a doctorate in chemistry, lifted offfrom the Baikonur Cosmodrome at 12:04 a.m. EDT Friday.During the climb to space through a cloudless blue sky, television views from insidethe capsule showed Skvortsov, seated in the center, flanked by Kornienko on his leftand Dyson on the right. All three crew members appeared relaxed and in good spirits."Everything is fine, we're feeling fine," someone, presumably Skvortsov, radioed."Watch that rabbit," a flight controller joked."It's
a ducky!" Skvortsov replied, referring to a bright yellow doll hanging abovethe commander's head."Your mascot?""That's
a zero-G indicator."Hampered by initially poor communications, the crew reassured mission control at onepoint, radioing "everything is on schedule. We are fine."Nine minutes after liftoff, the Soyuz spacecraft slipped into its preliminary orbit,with a planned high point of 143 miles and a low point of about 118 miles.If all goes well, the trio will dock with the space station's upper Poisk modulearound 1:26 a.m. Sunday. Waiting to welcome them to the Expedition 23 crew will becommander Oleg Kotov, NASA astronaut Timothy Creamer and Japanese astronaut SoichiNoguchi.The Soyuz launch came just a few hours before the 3 a.m. Friday start of the shuttleDiscovery's countdown to blastoff Monday from the Kennedy Space Center. Assuming anon-time liftoff at 6:21 a.m., Discovery will dock with the space station's forwardport around 3:44 a.m. Wednesday, boosting the combined crew to 13.The goal of the shuttle flight is to deliver some 10 tons of supplies and equipment,including a 1,700-pound ammonia tank for the lab's cooling system, science racks, anexperiment sample freezer, a crew sleep station and other gear.Asked about the tight scheduling between the shuttle and Soyuz, Dyson, veteran of a2007 flight aboard the shuttle Endeavour, said "I think it rocks, I'm reallyexcited.""These are some great friends of mine on the shuttle and I've flown with some ofthem, I've trained with some of them and I've shared a lot of dinners and good timeswith these folks," she said at a pre-flight news conference in Baikonur. "And I'mdelighted for them and just ecstatic that the timing worked out for us to be inspace together."But what this means on a larger scale is it really brings out the essence of ourInternational Space Station and our program that we could have a shuttle and a Soyuzlaunching within days of each other and how we can integrate and add to the alreadycomplex nature of what we do and the business we're in."Before heading to the launch pad, Dyson took a moment to sing a Garth Brooks song -"The River" - to her husband, earning applause from dignitaries and guests.In an earlier interview, she said she was looking forward to comparing the shuttleand Soyuz launch experiences."It's
going to be cozy," she said of the three-seat Soyuz. "What I'm really lookingforward to is the 180-degree difference between riding in a shuttle and living in ashuttle and doing the same in a Soyuz. They're both tremendous vehicles for totallydifferent reasons."The shuttle's incredibly complex and it mesmerizes me still, just how all thosesystems work together at the appropriate time to get us through a mission. Andlikewise, the Soyuz is just incredibly robust. It's simple and where we'reredundant, it's robust. I'm also impressed with the ingenuity and the cleverness ofthe Russian engineering that went into that vehicle. And that vehicle has withstoodthe test of time. So I have a deep respect for both vehicles."As for sharing the cramped confines of a Soyuz for two days with two cosmonauts,Dyson said "they're great guys, really intelligent guys, they have diversebackgrounds, they are personally really good people to surround yourself with.""This is their first spaceflight, so it's going to be interesting to see thetransformation that I know I went through when I got to orbit for the first time,"she said. "They're going to have plenty of time to get over that learning curve,operating in zero gravity."Here is a timeline of major post-launch events (in EDT):EDT...........EVENT04/02/10
12:04:34 AM...Launch12:13:19 AM...Orbital Insertion03:39:44 AM...DV1 (36.4 mph)04:38:38 AM...DV2 (8.8 mph)
01:05:50 AM...DV3 (4.5 mph)11:06:50 PM...AR&D Automated Rendezvous start (T0)11:10:00 PM...U.S. to Russian attitude control handover, LVLH11:20:00 PM...ISS maneuver to dock attitude, LVLH (124.5, 85.7, 305.1)11:28:56 PM...AR&D DV4/Impulse 1 (50.2 mph)11:50:34 PM...AR&D Impulse 2 (3.1 mph)11:53:00 PM...Soyuz Kurs-A Activation (T1)11:55:00 PM...Service module
Kurs-P Activation (T1)
12:13:37 AM...AR&D DV5 /
Impulse 3 (55.3 mph)12:13:50 AM...Range = 62.1 miles: Soyuz VHF-2 link12:18:10 AM...Range = 49.7 miles: Valid Kurs-P range data12:31:45 AM...Sunset12:39:10 AM...Range = 9.3 miles: Kurs-A & Kurs-P short test12:46:10 AM...Range = 4.9 miles: Soyuz TV activation12:54:11 AM...AR&D Impulse 4 (14.4 mph)12:56:50 AM...AR&D Ballistic Targeting Point12:59:03 AM...AR&D Impulse 5 (14.7 mph)01:01:42 AM...AR&D Impulse 6 (4.1 mph)01:03:44 AM...AR&D Flyaround mode start01:05:25 AM...Sunrise01:10:10 AM...AR&D Stationkeeping start01:14:51 AM...Daily Orbit 2 RGS AOS01:17:00 AM...AR&D Final Approach start01:26:00 AM...Docking01:37:58 AM...Daily Orbit 2 RGS LOS01:46:00 AM...Soyuz & MRM2 hooks closed: ISS maneuver to LVLH02:03:14 AM...Sunset02:50:00 AM...Russian to U.S. attitude control handover"I imagine when we first get there Oleg, T.J., Soichi, they'll be showing me and the guys around, making sure that we are really comfortable with the environment, ableto find things, no problem, and start to work as a crew, a six-person crew whichhere in training we have limited opportunity to do," Dyson said in a NASA interview."So I imagine first off it'll be get used to your new home, and then it will belet's get ready for the (next) crew that's coming up and all of the details thatwe're going to need to provide and work with them to help make their mission asuccess."Additional coverage for subscribers:VIDEO:FULL EXPERIENCE FROM LIFTOFF TO ORBIT VIDEO:CREW DEPARTS SITE 254 FOR LAUNCH PAD VIDEO:VIPS MEET THE CREW ON LAUNCH MORNING VIDEO:CREW MEMBERS DON THEIR SOKOL SPACESUITS VIDEO:LAUNCH MORNING TRADITIONS AT CREW QUARTERS VIDEO:SOYUZ ROCKET ROLLED TO THE LAUNCH PAD VIDEO:ASSEMBLY OF SOYUZ COMPLETED IN THE HANGAR VIDEO:HIGHLIGHTS OF CREW'S ACTIVITIES AT BAIKONUR VIDEO:BIOS OF SKVORTSOV, KORNIENKO AND CALDWELL DYSON VIDEO:PREVIEW OF NEXT SIX MONTHS AT SPACE STATION VIDEO:BIOS OF KOTOV, CREAMER AND NOGUCHI Final Shuttle Mission PatchFree shipping to U.S. addresses!The crew emblem for the final space shuttle mission is now available in our store. Get this piece of history!STS-134 PatchFree shipping to U.S. addresses!The final planned flight of space shuttle Endeavour is symbolized in the official embroidered crew patch for STS-134. Available in our store!Ares 1-X PatchThe official embroidered patch for the Ares 1-X rocket test flight, is available for purchase.Apollo CollageThis beautiful one piece set features the Apollo program emblem surrounded by the individual mission logos.Project OrionThe Orion crew exploration vehicle is NASA's first new human spacecraft developed since the space shuttle a quarter-century earlier. The capsule is one of the key elements of returning astronauts to the Moon.Fallen Heroes Patch CollectionThe official patches from Apollo 1, the shuttle Challenger and Columbia crews are available in the store. |
2014 Spaceflight Now Inc.Soyuz delivers Galileo navigation satellites to orbit
SPACEFLIGHT NOWPosted: October 21, 2011
Launching from the Amazon jungle into the void of space Friday, a Russian Soyuz rocket inaugurated a new launch base and kicked off assembly of a $7.3 billion fleet of navigation satellites, fulfilling a decade of tough diplomatic negotiations and back-breaking construction in the granite bedrock of French Guiana.
Credit: Stephane Corvaja/ESAWith orange flames spewing from 32 rocket engine nozzles, the 151-foot-tall Soyuz 2-1b rocket swiftly rose from the launch pad in a rain shower at 1030 GMT (6:30 a.m. EDT; 7:30 a.m. local time).The kerosene-burning Soyuz jettisoned four strap-on boosters less than two minutes after liftoff, leaving the empty rockets to fall in the Atlantic Ocean. Flying with a modernized digital control system, the Soyuz core stage and third stage accelerated the rocket to nearly orbital velocity in approximately nine minutes.The rocket's Fregat-MT upper stage, modified to carry extra propellant, ignited for 13 minutes to propel the mission's payloads into an oval-shaped transfer orbit.Another Fregat engine firing three hours later delivered two 1,543-pound Galileo satellites into a circular orbit about 14,400 miles above Earth. A few minutes later, the spacecraft were released from a specially-built dispenser to begin their missions.A European Space Agency spokesperson confirmed both satellites were functioning and had deployed their solar panels."This launch represents a lot for Europe: we have placed in orbit the first two satellites of Galileo, a system that will position our continent as a world-class player in the strategic domain of satellite navigation, a domain with huge economic perspectives," said Jean-Jacques Dordain, ESA's director general."Moreover, this historic first launch of a genuine European system like Galileo was performed by the legendary Russian launcher that was used for Sputnik and Yuri Gagarin, a launcher that will, from now on, lift off from Europe's spaceport," Dordain said.The Galileo satellites will conduct maneuvers every 12 hours, alternating between each spacecraft, for the next two weeks to reach their test positions. Three months from launch, controllers will finish their testing of the spacecraft and the satellites will produce their first navigation signals, according to Claude Audouy, operations director at the CNES, or French space agency, control center in Toulouse.
Credit: Stephane Corvaja/ESAThe French control center and the European Space Operations Center in Darmstadt, Germany, will oversee the early maneuvers and testing of the Galileo satellites, then control will be handed to routine operations center managed by the German Aerospace Center near Munich.Control of the Galileo navigation payloads on-board each satellite will be managed from Fucino, Italy.Off