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Soyuz set for launch to space station to boost crew to six

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Very important milestone

In a long-awaited milestone for the International Space Station, a Russian Soyuz rocket scheduled for launch early Wednesday will ferry three fresh crew members to the lab complex, boosting its crew size to six for the first time.

The Soyuz TMA-15 spacecraft, mounted atop the same launch pad used by Yuri Gagarin at the dawn of the space age, is scheduled for takeoff from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 6:34:49 a.m. EDT.

Soyuz commander Roman Romanenko, son of a Russian cosmonaut, will be strapped into the center seat, flanked by European Space Agency astronaut Frank De Winne of Belgium and Canadian Space Agency astronaut Robert Thirsk, a shuttle veteran.

"I can't think of three finer gentlemen to help us realize our dream of six permanent crew on orbit," Mike Suffredini, NASA's space station program manager, told the Soyuz crew Tuesday. "So I wish you good luck and Godspeed."

Assuming an on-time liftoff, Romanenko plans to oversee an automated approach and docking to an Earth-facing port on the front end of the space station's Russian Zarya module at 8:36 a.m. Friday. Waiting to welcome their new crewmates aboard will be Expedition 20 commander Gennady Padalka, NASA flight engineer Michael Barratt and Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata.

Padalka and Barratt were launched to the station March 26 aboard the Soyuz TMA-14 spacecraft. Wakata was launched aboard the shuttle Discovery on March 15, becoming Japan's first full-time station crew member.

With the arrival of Romanenko, De Winne and Thirsk, all five of the space agencies building the International Space Station will be represented by full-time crew members for the first time.

"Six person crew is a milestone in the history of the International Space Station," Thirsk said before launch. "In a big way, the International Space Station will be able to fulfill it's primary purpose, which is to function as a world-class orbiting laboratory for medical science and materials science.

"But there are also practical issues to consider as well with a crew of six and one of our goals, with our three colleagues on orbit, is to prove that the station can support six people for a long duration."

NASA television's public and media channels will carry pre-launch video footage from Baikonur starting at 4:45 a.m. Wednesday, followed by launch coverage beginning at 5:45 a.m. Assuming an on-time liftoff at 6:34:49 a.m., the Soyuz TMA-15 spacecraft should be in orbit by 6:44 a.m. NASA plans to feed a launch day b-roll package at 12 p.m.

Here is a generic Soyuz countdown timeline to give readers a sense of when major events are planned (in EDT; best viewed with fixed-width font; some times may be different for the TMA-15 launch):

EDT...........EVENT

Wednesday, May 27

12:34 AM......Batteries installed in booster
01:04 AM......State commission 'go'
01:34 AM......Tanking begins
02:34 AM......Booster is loaded with liquid oxygen
03:34 AM......1st/2nd stage oxygen fueling complete
03:59 AM......Crew arrives at launch vehicle
04:04 AM......Crew ingress through orbital module side hatch
04:34 AM......Crew in re-entry vehicle
04:49 AM......Re-entry vehicle hardware tested; suits are ventilated
05:04 AM......Hatch sealed and tested
05:34 AM......Launch vehicle control system preps; gyro activation
05:49 AM......Launch pad service structure halves lowered
05:54 AM......Suit leak checks; re-entry vehicle testing complete
06:04 AM......Emergency escape system armed
06:09 AM......Service towers retracted
06:19 AM......Suit leak checks complete; escape system to auto
06:24 AM......Gyros uncaged; on-board recorders activated
06:27 AM......Prelaunch operations complete
06:28 AM......Final launch countdown operations to auto
06:28 AM......Launch complex and vehicle systems ready
06:29 AM......CDR's controls activated; helmets closed; launch key inserted
06:31 AM......Combustion chamber nitrogen purge
06:32:19 AM...Booster propellant tank pressurization begins
06:32:34 AM...Ground propellant feed terminated
06:33:49 AM...Vehicle to internal; 1st umbilical tower sep; auto sequence start
06:34:09 AM...Ground power umbilical to 3rd stage separates
06:34:29 AM...Launch command given; central/side pod engines on
06:34:34 AM...Second umbilical tower separates
06:34:39 AM...Engine turbopumps at flight speed
06:34:44 AM...Engines at maximum thrust

06:34:49 AM...LIFTOFF

06:35:59 AM...Velocity 1,118 mph
06:36:47 AM...Stage 1 strap-on boosters separate
06:36:49 AM...Velocity 3,355 mph
06:37:29 AM...Escape tower/launch shroud jettison
06:39:47 AM...Core booster separates at 105 statute miles
06:42:19 AM...Velocity 13,421 mph
06:43:49 AM...Third stage shutdown; Soyuz separation


From CBS




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Are you staying up to watch it? I should be up.

btw I was wondering? has anyone actually had sex in space yet? I believe a hubby and wife went up didn't they? Surely they must have had at least a knee trembler ? :) :)

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Actually I've just realised it's this morning _ cool

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smeggypants wrote:Are you staying up to watch it? I should be up.

btw I was wondering? has anyone actually had sex in space yet? I believe a hubby and wife went up didn't they? Surely they must have had at least a knee trembler ? :) :)


I copied the piece as it was incase copyright comes up and the times are Eastern Daylight so you need to add 5 hours for BST. Launch will be 11:34 am BST.
A married couple did go up in 1992 on Endeavour but it's never been confirm whether they or any other astronauts ever had sex. There is not much room up there so you would have another person right next, not very romantic :squeeze:




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Ahh cheers :)

I'll be in bed then. Should be a youtube of though shouldn't there?

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smeggypants wrote:Ahh cheers :)

I'll be in bed then. Should be a youtube of though shouldn't there?


Yes, probably be in the multimedia section of Nasa.gov as well




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Very cool, If I can watch it, I will. :thumb:



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18 minutes to launch, live coverage on http://www.Nasa.gov




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Cool! :thumb:



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Perfect launch




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For those of us in the coffin at the time


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And some quality piccys of the launchsite

http://www.flightglobal.com/blogs/hyper ... -roll.html

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Some cool pics there Channel Hopper :)

Amazing how different the launch mechanism is to the American version.

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smeggypants wrote:Some cool pics there Channel Hopper :)

Amazing how different the launch mechanism is to the American version.


It looks like the Russians use an English design.

http://www.geocities.com/beebfun/rocket.htm

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The Russian rockets have been amazingly reliable and they are basically the same ones used in the early 1960's, at that time the US were using similar launch pads but they moved on to new stuff.




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The soyuz should dock with the station tomorrow afternoon at 1:00pm BST with a hatch opening at 2:15pm BST





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