Spacecraft Docks at International Space Station
— A Soyuz spacecraft
carrying Russian, American and Italian crew-members has docked
at International Space Station. The mission comes as part of
the normal six-month crew rotation.
officials say the docking took place on schedule two days after
the Soyuz blasted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
John Phillips, Russian Sergei Krikalyov and Italian Roberto Vittori
later opened the hatch and made their way into the orbiting space
joined Russian cosmonaut Salizhan Sharipov and American astronaut
Leroy Chiao, who’ve been on the space station for the past six
All five men
soon appeared in a live television hook-up with mission control
back on earth.
welcomed the new men on board and said that all was ready for
the transfer of crews on the station.
and Mr. Krikalyov are to spend the next six months on board.
One of their
main tasks will be to welcome the return of an American space
shuttle to the station for the first time in two years.
Discovery is due to dock with the space station next month after
a two-year break due to the disintegration of the shuttle Columbia,
which killed all seven astronauts on board.
The new crewmen
on the station will conduct a photographic survey of Discovery
as it moves in for docking.
This will help
determine if extensive work on the shuttle’s exterior insulation
system has been successful.
It was a failure
of that system that caused Columbia to break apart in the intense
heat generated when it reentered earth’s atmosphere.
Vittori is with the European space agency. He is due to conduct
a series of experiments over the next eight days before returning
to earth in the Soyuz capsule with Mr. Sharipov and Mr. Chiao.
The Soyuz craft
have served as the only link with the station since all shuttles
were grounded after the Columbia accident.
the Russian Spacecraft Soyuz and the ISS:
Astronaut for ISS, July
ISS Crew Leaves Soyuz
Spaceship Flying to ISS
Crew to Bring Picture to ISS
Russia Celebrating Cosmonautics Day
to Be Launched from South America
for ISS, July
CONTROL CENTER, KOROLEV, MOSCOW REGION (RIA Novosti) — The
European Space Agency and Roskosmos, Russia’s Federal Space
Agency, are quite soon to sign a contract for an ESA astronaut’s
sojourn at the International Space Station, Daniel Sacotte,
in charge of ESA manned flights, said to Novosti in Korolev near
The ESA is
eager to sign the contract as soon as possible for Germany’s
Thomas Reiter to get to the ISS, he added.
A Russian expert
team is flying to Western Europe tomorrow to work out contract
details, and Roskosmos shares the ESA’s eagerness to get through
with it quickly, said Nikolai Moiseyev, agency deputy chief.
Reiter is expected
to reach the ISS by the USA’s Atlantis shuttle, to be launched
next July. The ESA man will join the 11th station crew of Russia’s
Sergei Krikalev and American John Phillips. Both came to the
ISS this morning.
the Discovery, is due to go to the ISS some day in between May
15 and June 3, said Fred Gregory, NASA deputy chief. Launching
preparations are proceeding on schedule, and there is enough
time to get sure the shuttle is quite safe, he added.
New ISS Crew
CENTER, KOROLEV, MOSCOW REGION (RIA Novosti) – An 11th
ISS crew left its Soyuz TMA-6 craft, 8.46, Moscow time, this
morning to get to the International Space Station. The USA’s
John Phillips was the first to enter, followed by Roberto Vittori,
Italian astronaut of the European State Agency visiting crew.
Captain Sergei Krikalev, Russia, broke an established tradition
to enter last.
The Soyuz automatically
docked the ISS, 6.20, Moscow time.
Sharipov, 10th ISS crew captain, met the new crew with bread
and salt neatly arranged on a tray-an age-old Russian folk tradition,
which became space custom at the times of the Mir orbital station.
At the beginning, astronauts were stitching up a loaf to cloth
that came as an impromptu napkin, with a salt tablet attached,
a Mission Control Center officer said to Novosti.
The 11th crew
will be taking over up to April 24. The men are in for busy days,
what with station documents to hand over and experiments to finish.
The 10th crew will take the test finds to Earth on their way
back by the Soyuz. There is a lot of packing and other chores,
too, said our informant.
Flying to ISS
CENTRE (Korolev) (RIA Novosti) – A Soyuz booster rocket
with the Soyuz TMA-6 spaceship, in which the crew of the 11th
Russian-US expedition is flying to the ISS, successfully took
off from the Baikonur cosmodrome at 4.46 Moscow time. At 4.55
Moscow time the Soyuz TMA-6 separated from the booster rocket
and entered an orbit of rendezvous with the ISS.
feel well, communication with them is maintained stably, and
the ship’s systems are working normally after the separation
from the launch vehicle. Crew commander Sergei Krikalev reported
about the advent of weightlessness," a representative of
the Mission Control Centre said.
Sergei Krikalev heads the mission. For a half-year American astronaut
John Phillips who turned 54 on the day of his takeoff to the
ISS will be his subordinate. Russian record holder in the number
of space flights – it is already his sixth space flight now –
Sergei Krikalev will, however, mark his birthday in space for
the first time – he must turn 47 on August 27, 2005.
the ESA visiting expedition Roberto Vittori of Italy has also
left for his second ten-day flight on the ISS. He must return
to Earth on April 24 together with the crew of the tenth expedition
– Salizhan Sharipov and Leroy Chiao, who worked on the ISS for
half a year.
It is planned
that their spacecraft Soyuz TMA-5 will undock from the ISS at
night on April 24, and the descent capsule with the spacemen
is expected to land on Kazakhstan’s territory at 02.03 Moscow
the change of the crew, the space ships on the ISS will also
change, which must be done once in six months according to the
safety engineering rules.
On the ISS
the Russian Soyuzs act as "rescue boats" – people can
be evacuated from the station only in them in case of depressurization,
a fire or any other serious abnormal situation.
April 17, the Soyuz TMA-6 spaceship must tether to the ISS. Speaking
of the most interesting tasks he has to accomplish in the course
of his six-month-long work on the ISS, Sergei Krikalev said that
of greatest interest is to measure the Soyuz ship’s trajectory
by means of satellite navigation instruments.
him, this is very important for improving the system of rendezvous
and docking, designed not only for the European Jules Verne cargo
ship but also for spacecraft of the future, which will tether
to the ISS.
of the 11th expedition to the ISS John Phillips believes that
it is very important to install and test the equipment which
the Discovery space shuttle, the first after the Columbia disaster,
must bring to the ISS. According to Mr. Phillips, the shuttle
will bring, in particular, a big refrigerator, a gas analyzer
and a scientific centrifuge.
Crew to Bring Picture to ISS
Novosti) — The international crew of the Soyuz-6TMA spacecraft
– Sergei Krikalyov, Roberto
Vittori and John Philips – are to blast
the picture Single Mona Lisa 1:1 by known Russian artist Georgy Puzenkov
The news was
announced by a spokeswoman of the European Space Agency (ESA)
participating in the project along with Russia’s Federal Space
Agency (Roscosmos) and Energiya corporation.
is slated to blast off towards the International Space Station
(ISS) from the Baikonur launching facility on April 15. In addition
to the cargo under the program, the crewmembers take along a
picture by artist Georgy Puzenkov whose works are displayed in
top museums throughout the world. Based on the famous picture
by Leonardo da Vinci, Puzenkov recreated Mona Lisa in the form
of computer pixels applied to canvas by means of up-to-date technology.
his unprecedented space action with a historical date: Leonardo
da Vinci’s painting – a symbol and a legend of the world’s art
– turns 500 this year. According to Puzenkov, Mona Lisa’s smile
in a computer frame is a token of the creative unity of art,
science and high technology.
to the painting to be brought on board by the Italian crewmember,
Roberto Vittori, one more piece of art is to go to outer space.
Russian cosmonaut Sergei Krikalyov will bring to the Soyuz-6TMA
a transparent crystal with a titanium-silicon plate measuring
3 micron by 5 micron. The plate will be Single Mona Lisa 1:1’s
nano-copy from a Russian nano-technology developer.
is to be left on board the ISS, with the painting to be brought
back to the Earth on April 25.
Russia Celebrating Cosmonautics Day
(RIA Novosti) — Federal Space Agency chief Anatoly Perminov is to
congratulate the International Space Station’s
crew on Cosmonautics Day, without leaving for the mission-control
center outside Moscow. Nor will Perminov have to leave the
Federal Space Agency building in Moscow for this purpose. In short,
will congratulate the ISS crew from a special central information
12 the Federal Space Agency’s chief will chat with the ISS crew
(namely, Salizhan Sharipov and Leroy Chiao) from a new central
information center that was established April 5 at the Federal
Space Agency," RIA Novosti learned from the agency’s spokesperson
In his words,
the versatile central information center receives data from all
enterprises of the space-rocket industry. This center makes it
possible to hold direct communications sessions with ISS crews.
Previously, such sessions could only take place from the mission-control
center near Moscow.
talked to Sharipov and Chiao April 5. "I will now be able
to chat with you more often because we have established permanent
communications with the ISS from the Federal Space Agency’s building," Perminov
said back then.
cosmonauts, members of the so-called Star Squad, will gather
in an impressive setting near Ternovka village in the Saratov
region (middle reaches of the Volga river), reports the regional
information and public-relations ministry. The world’s first
space traveler Yury Gagarin had landed there exactly 44 years
region is to receive Russian pilot-cosmonaut, Hero of the Russian
Federation and Honorary Citizen of Engels Yury Shargin, Heroes
of the Soviet Union Gennady Sarafanov and Igor Volk, members
of the Russian Cosmonautics Academy named after Tsiolkovsky and
the Russian Academy of Sciences, as well as Gagarin’s companions
and aerospace-industry specialists.
All these people
will attend a festive rally, laying flowers at a monument to
the first cosmonaut in history. They will also meet students
of the Saratov industrial and teacher-training college where
Gagarin had studied.
Be Launched from South America
Novosti) — On April 11, Russia’s Federal Space Agency and Arianespace
of France signed a contract on building a launch
facility for Russia’s Soyuz-ST launch vehicles at the Kourou
space center (French Guiana), Gazeta reports.
The first Soyuz
rocket is to be launched from Kourou in 2008, Vyacheslav Davidenko,
a spokesman for the Federal Space Agency, said.
Space Agency’s officials are sure that Kourou launches will help
Russia save money. As Kourou is close to the Equator, each Soyuz
launcher will be able to orbit four-ton payloads rather than
the 1.5-ton payloads that the launch vehicles currently take
to space from Baikonur. This means up to $60 million will be
saved per launch.
Agency chief Boris Alyoshin believes that Soyuz launches will
provide Russian companies with contracts worth a billion euros
in the next five to six years. Arianespace has already received
the first communications-satellite launch contract, a Federal
Space Agency source added.
are skeptical about the Federal Space Agency’s plans. Russia
will obviously profit from Kourou launches to some extent. However,
Igor Afanasyev, an expert on space technology, said communications
satellites are now becoming heavier and more dependable and most
telecommunications agencies already operate such satellites.
Afanasyev believes that there are no guarantees that Russia will
be able to make three or four launches a year.
sure that manned launches cannot be transferred from Baikonur
to Kourou in the next few years, as the latter does not have
the required high-safety infrastructure for manned space flights.
In January 2004, Vladimir Putin and President of Kazakhstan Nursultan
Nazarbayev signed an agreement on extending the lease on Baikonur
until 2050. Russia will have to pay $115 million each year even
if it launches some commercial spacecraft from Kourou, and military
satellites from Plesetsk in northern Russia.