Category Manned Spaceflight Log II—2006-2012


Flight crew

KALERI, Aleksandr Yuriyevich, 54, civilian, RSA Soyuz TMA-M commander, ISS flight engineer, fifth mission

Previous missions-. Soyuz TM-14 (1992), Soyuz TM-24 (1996), Soyuz ТМ-30/ Mir-28 (2000), Soyuz TMA-3 (2003)

SKRIPOCHKA, Oleg Ivanovich, 40, civilian, RSA Soyuz TMA-M flight engineer, ISS flight engineer

KELLY, Scott Joseph, 46, USN, NASA ISS-25 flight engineer; ISS-26 commander, Soyuz TM-M flight engineer, third mission Previous missions-. STS-103 (1999), STS-118 (2007)

Flight log

On October 8, 2010 (Moscow time), a new, modified Soyuz TMA-M was launched on its first mission with a three-man crew. It docked with ISS at Poisk on October 10. Such was the confidence in the system and the internal system upgrades of Soyuz, an unmanned TMA-M mission was deemed unnecessary, although several systems had been test-flown on earlier unmanned Progress missions.

In command of the new vehicle was veteran Russian civilian engineer cosmonaut Alexander Kaleri, who had already logged 610 days in space on his three flights to Mir and an earlier mission to the ISS. He had worked on the development of the TMA-M upgrades which enabled him to take the coveted command of the inaugural mission. With him were rookie cosmonaut Oleg Skripochka and veteran American Space Shuttle commander Scott Kelly, who became the first NASA pilot-astronaut to serve on an ISS residency crew since Ken Bowersox in 2003.


NASA astronaut Scott Kelly is pictured inside the Soyuz TMA-M Descent Module on docking day.

The mission of TMA-M was, of course, to transport the next resident crew to and from the station and serve as a rescue vehicle should it be required, but this was also an important test flight of a new vehicle which would be the mainstay of Russian and ISS manned operations for some years to come. It was imperative that all went well in this maiden flight.

The external appearance of TMA-M was similar to earlier versions of the craft; the upgrades were mainly within the avionics of the spacecraft. A new, lighter, digital command and control system freed up mass to allow an increase in payload capacity by 1541b (69.85 kg). The old Argon analog computer system, used since 1974, was finally upgraded to the new TSVM-101 system, which meant that just one qualified pilot could now fly Soyuz rather than having two fully trained crew members, saving on training time. One-person Soyuz rescue (return) capability had been available for some years, of course, though it had never been called upon in flight.

After 45 days working as part of the ISS-25 crew, Kelly assumed command of the station on November 24, beginning the ISS-26 residency. For the next three weeks, they continued the science and maintenance programs as a three-person crew while awaiting the arrival of their colleagues on TMA-20. The new crew, who would take over as ISS-27 in the spring, arrived on December 17 and docked with the Rassvet module.

The station was reboosted on December 22, using the eight thrusters of the Progress M-07M for 21 minutes 11 seconds to raise the orbit of the complex by 2.6 miles (4.18 km) to 219 miles (352.37 km) in preparation for the arrival of the second Japanese unmanned resupply craft, HTV-2. On Christmas Eve, Skripochka celebrated his 41st birthday and the crew had a day off on Christmas Day. The closing days of the year were spent on a significant amount of preparation work for 2011 docking and joint flight operations, which would also see the retirement of the Space Shuttle.

The New Year arrived with shocking news. On January 8, U. S. Congress­woman Gabrielle Gifford was shot at a political rally in Tucson, Arizona. Six other people, including a 9-year-old girl, were fatally wounded. Gifford is the sister-in-law of Scott Kelly and her husband, Kelly’s twin brother Mark, was due to command STS-134. That mission was originally scheduled to fly to the station during March while Scott was aboard the station, making for a historic meeting in orbit. In memory of the victims one minute’s silence was held aboard the station and across the United States on January 10. It was also announced that proces­sing and payload delays would result in the STS-134 mission being postponed until April. The opportunity for the two brothers to meet aboard the space station was lost.

On January 21, Kondratyev and Skripochka conducted a Russian segment EVA (5h 23 min) from Pirs, installing an antenna on Zvezda as part of the Russian Radio Telescope System for Information Transfer which would allow radio technicians to send large files at 100 megacycles per second from computers on the station to Earth. They also removed a failed generator on the Expre-R camera from Zvezda and finally installed the docking camera on the outside of Rassvet.

Following the EVA, things became busier at the station, with operations to restock the station accelerating in lieu of the retirement of the Shuttle later in 2011. On January 24, Progress M-08M was undocked and this was soon followed by the arrival of the second Japanese HTV unmanned resupply craft, Kounotori 2 (“White Stork”). The HTV was grappled by Canadarm2 on January 27 and was initially attached to the nadir port on Harmony. The crew entered the module for the first time, wearing masks as a safety precaution for a new vehicle, on January 28. On board the HTV were 6,4551b (2,927.98 kg) of cargo. On January 30, Progress M-09M docked with the Pirs module bringing a further three tons of supplies. On February 4, another anniversary was marked in the program as Zarya, the original ISS element, completed 70,000 orbits of Earth since its launch on November 20, 1998.

A second EVA (February 16, 4h 5 min) by Kondratyev and Skripochka continued the installation of exterior experiments outside Zvezda and the retrieval of panels of exposed materials. The Japanese HTV was relocated from the nadir port of Harmony to the module’s zenith port on February 18 to make room for the forthcoming docking of Discovery (STS-133). Less than a week later, on

February 24, the second European unmanned resupply craft Johannes Kepler (ATV-2) docked with Zvezda’s aft port with a further 3,5001b (1,587.60 kg) of cargo aboard. While docked with the station for the next three months, it was planned to use the ATV for station reboost. This would also give the crew time to unload the supplies and utilize the extra volume, before filling it with unwanted material prior to undocking for destructive burn-up in the atmosphere.

Shuttle Discovery, flying STS-133, was the next arrival at the station, docking with the PMA-2 of Harmony on February 26 to deliver more cargo. The mission would also transfer the former MPLM Leonardo—now designated the Permanent Multipurpose Module (PMM)—and the ExPRESS Logistic Carrier-4 (ELC-4) across to the station. The docking of Discovery created a unique moment in ISS history, as for the first time all the current resupply craft were docked with the space station—Soyuz, Progress, ATV, HTV, and the Space Shuttle. The ISS was at this point the biggest it had ever been. Unfortunately, a fly-around of one of the Soyuz spacecraft to photograph the historic linkup was not possible. The Rus­sians were rightly cautious in that the next planned departure vehicle—Soyuz TMA-M—was the inaugural flight of the vehicle and it was deemed too risky to violate safety protocols. It was hoped that an opportunity would arise for such a unique photograph before the Shuttle retired later in the summer. Discovery undocked on March 7.

On March 11, Kounotori was relocated again from the zenith side of Harmony back to the nadir side of the module. That same day, an 8.9 magnitude earthquake and tsunami struck northern Japan. The Tsukuba Flight Control Center, some 30 miles (48.27 km) northeast of Tokyo, was shut down for 3 days. The center suffered a little damage but fortunately no casualties. Communication links with Houston were also disrupted, reducing regular operations on Kibo. Three JAXA controllers flew to the United States to establish temporary Kibo control in Houston. Until the communications finks could be fully restored, the HTV could not be unberthed, delaying its departure from the station. In the interim, the Japanese vehicle continued to be packed with additional unwanted material and trash. The HTV departed from ISS for its destructive atmospheric reentry on March 28.

On March 14, Kondratyev assumed command of the station for the ISS-27 phase from Kelly, effectively ending the ISS-26 prime residency after 110 days. Two days later, Soyuz TMA-M undocked from the ISS, landing later the same day on the snowy steppes of Kazakhstan. The Descent Module landed on its side and was dragged about 75 feet (22.86 m) by its recovery parachute. Despite this, it was a highly successful initial flight for the new vehicle.


278th manned space flight 113th Russian manned space flight 106 th manned Soyuz flight 1st Soyuz TM-M mission 24th ISS Soyuz mission (24S)

25/26th ISS resident crew

Skripochka celebrate his 41st birthday (December 24)

First time all main station resupply craft are docked with the ISS at same time—Soyuz, Progress, Shuttle, ATY, and HTV

Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX)

SpaceX has developed its Dragon (cargo) vehicle to launch on their Falcon 9 launch vehicle. The company is also developing a manned version of the same vehicle. An unmanned Dragon cargo vehicle was successfully flown to the ISS in 2012, becoming the first commercial vehicle to attach itself to the ISS. The Dragon spacecraft can handle both pressurized (up to 14 m3 or 55 ft3) and unpressurized (up to 10 m3 or 39 ft3) payloads in a fully recoverable capsule with a combined capsule and support trunk up-mass of 2,7201b (6,000 kg) or 1,3601b (3,000 kg) for the down-mass of only the capsule. It has an impressive mission duration capabil­ity of between one week and two years. The first manned flight is planned for 2015 and the vehicle is designed to carry up to seven astronauts on a wide variety of missions.

Orbital Sciences Corporation (Orbital)

Orbital is developing an unmanned cargo vehicle called Cygnus that will be launched on an Antares launch vehicle. This will be an advanced maneuvering spacecraft designed to support cargo delivery services and is planned to fly eight missions over a 2yr period (currently 2013 to 2015), delivering approximately 20,000 kg (44,000 lb) of cargo to the ISS and then disposing of unwanted waste in a destructive reentry. Using proven technology, the vehicle comprises a common service module and a pressurized cargo module. The pressurized module is based on the Multi-Purpose Logistics Module developed by Thales Alenia Space.


Подпись: International designator Launched Launch site Landed Landing site Launch vehicle Duration Call sign Objective 2010-067A December 15, 2010

Pad 1, Site 5, Baikonur Cosmodrome, Republic of


May 24, 2011

Near town of Dzhezkazgan, Republic of Kazakhstan Soyuz-FG (serial number Ы5000-034),

Soyuz TMA (serial number 230)

159 da 8h 17min 15 s Yaryag

ISS resident crew transport ISS-26/27 (25S)

Flight crew

KONDRATYEV, Dmitri Yuriyevich, 41, Russian Federation Air Force, RSA Soyuz TMA commander, ISS-26 flight engineer, ISS-27 commander COLEMAN, Catherine Grace, 50, USAF (Retd.), NASA-Soyuz TMA and ISS-26/27 flight engineer, third mission Previous missions’. STS-73 (1995), STS-93 (1999)

NESPOLI, Paolo, 53, civilian (Italian), ESA-Soyuz TMA and ISS-26/27 flight engineer, second mission Previous mission: STS-120 (2007)

Flight log

The next resident crew to fly to the ISS launched to the station on one of the last TMA versions of the venerable Soyuz spacecraft. The trio was another truly inter­national crew. Commander of the Soyuz was rookie cosmonaut Kondratyev, who would serve as commander of ISS-27 after he and his two Shuttle veteran col­leagues served as flight engineers on ISS-26. Docking occurred on December 17 at the Rassvet module with the hatches opened three hours after docking for the crew to join their ISS-26 colleagues.

The Descent Module in which they had flown to the station was not the one they had planned to fly. The original Descent Module of TMA-20 was damaged in October 2009 during transportation to the Baikonur Cosmodrome from the Ener – giya factory where it had been fabricated. Fortunately, Soyuz is comprised of three separate but integrated elements and, as several other components were in various stages of preparation, the Descent Module planned for TMA-21 was avail­able as a replacement. The planned launch date only slipped by two days. This demonstrated the flexibility and versatility of both the Soyuz design and the Russian spacecraft processing system.


Cosmonaut Dmitry Kondratyev conducts an EVA at the Russian segment.

The damage was apparently due to “sloppiness” on the part of the transport team, which resulted in serious damage to the transport container and a 1.5 mm displacement in the base of the Descent Module. This was sufficient to create a micro-fracture in the pressure compartment, which would need detailed examina­tion back at Energiya. It was not clear if this would result in taking the affected Descent Module out of the flight manifest permanently. Energiya reported that about 30 different elements of the TMA vehicle were in various stages of pro­duction at the time of the incident. Once the new element had been incorporated into the processing flow, preparations for the mission continued without further incident.

Once safely aboard the station, the new crew received their required safety and update briefings. They were given a light-duty weekend before joining their three colleagues in their six-person science program. There were now three cosmo­nauts working the Russian segment experiments, two Americans handling the U. S. segment, and Nespoli in Columbus (assisted by the Americans where necessary). The joint program for ISS-26/27 was stated to include 504 sessions of 41 experi­ments in the Russian segment, of which 7 were brand new investigations. There would be over 366 hours of work conducted during the ISS-26 phase. Over in the U. S. segment, the expedition would work on 111 experiments, of which 73 were from NASA. Of these, 22 came under the auspices of the National Laboratory status and a further 38 from other partner agencies. This entailed over 540 hours of planned crew time.

Following Christmas, New Year, and the Russian Orthodox Christmas on January 7, the crew prepared equipment for a Russian EVA on January 21. The 5 h 23 min EVA by Kondratyev and Skripochka saw them install and repair equip­ment. A second EVA was completed on February 16 lasting 4 hours 51 minutes during which the two cosmonauts installed Earth monitoring experiments to the exterior of Zvezda and removed two exposure panels from the same module and discarded a foot restraint. The two space walks logged 10 hours and 14 minutes of EVA time for the pair of cosmonauts.

The first weeks in the New Year were a busy time for the crew with the arrival of HTV-2, ATV-2, and STS-133, as well as departure and arrival of Progress craft. On March 14, Kondratyev assumed command of the ISS from Kelly. When the TMA-M crew departed on March 16, the Soyuz TMA-20 crew became the ISS-27 expedition, initially as a three-person residency. They would be joined by their three new colleagues on April 6, 2011 with the arrival of Soyuz TMA-21.

April saw much to celebrate on board the station. Nespoli celebrated his 54th birthday on April 6 and this was followed on April 12 by two important anniver­sary celebrations. The first was the 50th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin’s historic first manned space flight and the second was the 30th anniversary of the first Shuttle mission. On April 17, new arrival Andrei Borisenko celebrated his 47th birthday on orbit. Yet another anniversary was celebrated on April 19 as the crew observed the 10th anniversary of the launch of the station’s robotic arm systems. This was also the 40th anniversary of the launch of Salyut 1, the world’s first space station, something that was overlooked somewhat by the world’s media. The TMA-20 mission was full of celebrations, and actually missed two as well. Coleman had turned 50 the day before launch (had the mission launched as planned she would have celebrated her birthday in orbit), and Kondratyev celebrated his 42nd birthday the day after landing.

On April 29, the STS-134 mission was scrubbed for about a month due to technical issues, which meant that it would arrive at the station towards the end of this residency. On May 3 came the sad news of the death, aged 78, of Nespoli’s mother Maria Motta, in Verano Brianza, northern Italy. The astronaut had been aware that his mother was ill and, as a mark of respect, the combined crew of six gathered the next day in the Cupola for a minute’s silence in her memory as they gazed out over the Earth below them. The STS-134 mission arrived at the station on May 18 and remained docked until May 30, delivering the ExPRESS Logistics Carrier-3 and Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer-02. What was different on this mission was that the TMA-20 departed the station before the Shuttle, thus offering the opportunity for the Soyuz crew to photograph from a distance the almost complete complex with a Shuttle orbiter docked with it for the first time.

On May 22, Kondratyev passed the command of station to fellow cosmonaut Andrei Borisenko, formally ending the ISS-27 program which officially ceased with the undocking of TMA-20 two days later. During the fly-around, Nespoli took a series of stunning and unique photos of the ISS complex with the Soyuz TMA, Progress, ATV, and Endeavour docked to it. Never again would such a photo be possible. Only one mission remained on the Shuttle manifest and no Soyuz departures were planned during that flight.

It had been a busy expedition, reflecting the changes in the program as the final Shuttle missions arrived and new resupply craft were being introduced. The TMA-20 crew had spent over 157 days of their mission duration on board the station, with 87 days as part of the ISS-26 crew and about 71 days as lead ISS-27 crew.


279th manned space flight 114th Russian manned space flight 107th manned Soyuz flight 20th manned Soyuz TMA mission 25th ISS Soyuz mission (25S)

26/27th ISS resident crew

Nespoli celebrates his 54th birthday (April 6)

Borisenko celebrates his 47th birthday (April 17)

Distant photography conducted of ISS with Shuttle and other current transport vehicles docked to it for the first and only time

Blue Origin

Blue Origin is developing a relatively secret crew transportation system to be launched initially on an Atlas V launch vehicle, although it is also developing its own reusable launch system.


This proposal was based upon utilizing a modified first stage of the Ariane V as a new second stage, with a Shuttle solid rocket motor as the first stage. Ariane V was to have been the launch vehicle for the canceled European Hermes mini­shuttle. This new design of launch vehicle has been named “Liberty” and would be used to launch a composite crew capsule.

Sierra Nevada Corporation

Sierra Nevada is developing a small lifting body-style crew vehicle called Dream Chaser also for launch on an Atlas V. This fourth-generation design of lifting body is based upon the NASA HL-20 design and is a fully reusable pressurized lifting body spacecraft. Capable of landing on a conventional runway, this design offers cross-range capability and reduced g-forces on descending occupants and payloads.


D. J. Shayler and M. D. Shayler, Manned Spaceflight LogII—2006-2012, Springer Praxis Books 158, 213

DOl 10.1007/978-1-4614-4577-7_4, © Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013




Подпись: International designator Launched Launch site Landed Landing site Launch vehicle Duration Call sign Objective 2011-008A

February 24, 2011

LC39A, KSC, Florida, U. S.A.

March 9, 2011

Runway 15, Shuttle Landing Facility, KSC, Florida, U. S.A.

OV-103 Discovery/ET-137/SRBs BI-144/SSME: #1 2044,

#2 2048, #3 2058

12da 19h 3min 51 s


ISS flight ULF-5

Flight crew

LINDSEY, Steven Wayne, 50, USAF, NASA commander, fifth mission Previous missions: STS-87 (1997), STS-95 (1998), STS-104 (2001), STS 121 (2008) BOE, Eric Allen, 46, USAF, NASA pilot DREW Jr., Benjamin Alvin, 48, civilian, NASA mission specialist 1, second mission

Previous mission: STS-118 (2007)

BOWEN, Steven George, USN, NASA mission specialist 2, third mission Previous missions’. STS-126 (2008), STS-132 (2010)

BARRATT, Michael Reed, civilian, NASA mission specialist 3, second mission Previous mission: Soyuz TMA-14/ISS-19/20 (2009)

STOTT, Nicole Maria Passano, 48, civilian, NASA mission specialist 4, second mission

Previous mission: STS-128/129/ISS-20/21 (2009)

Flight log

When this crew was named, they were also announced as the final Shuttle crew. At the time, this was indeed planned as the final Shuttle mission, manifested to fly after STS-134. However, as had been the way of the Shuttle program since its inception, the manifest changed and the flight sequence altered. The main payload for STS-134 was delayed and the mission slipped in the launch schedule to fly after STS-133. Then STS-135 was added to the manifest as the new final Shuttle mission. The change in flight sequence was not the only one, as there was also a milestone alteration to the crew. In January 2011, mission specialist Tim Kopra was injured in an off-duty bicycle accident and his lengthy recovery saw Steve Bowen take his place on the mission. Bowen thus became the first (and only)


The newly attached Permanent Multipurpose Module (PMM) and a docked Soyuz are featured in this image.

NASA astronaut to fly back-to-back Shuttle missions, having just completed a flight as mission specialist on STS-132.

Aboard Discovery for its final voyage was the Leonardo Multi-Purpose Logistics Module (MPLM), which had been converted into the Permanent Multi­purpose Module (PMM) that would be attached to the station as an additional storage facility. Previously, MPLMs were returned back to Earth in the Shuttle payload bay full of unwanted equipment and trash; but, with volume at a premium on station, it had been decided to convert one of the three available MPLMs for permanent attachment. The Shuttle’s cargo also included the ExPRESS Logistics Carrier 4, which was filled with equipment and spares. Among the delivered cargo was the Robonaut R2 humanoid robot, which was to be evaluated inside the station for its potential as a support for future EYAs or for activities outside the station that were potentially risky or inaccessible for an astronaut in a pressure suit. Reports suggested that later variants of the Robonaut could be used to support future operations on the Moon, at Mars, or the asteroids.

Discovery was rolled over to the YAB on September 9, 2010 and mated with the ET two days later. Discovery’s final rollout to the launchpad occurred on September 20, with a planned launch for the end of October. However, problems with a leak in the Orbital Maneuvering System (OMS), followed by a main engine controller problem and a leak from a ground umbilical plate pushed the mission into 2011.

Prelaunch preparations were blighted with niggling problems, especially with the ET, where inner stringers had to be strengthened. Things did not bode well when further leaks were found in the tank’s insulation and a seal had to be replaced. A loose screw in an inspection tool caused it to fall on to the ET and it was thought that another delay would ensue. Fortunately no serious damage was found and processing continued without further problems. Another issue, however, was the upcoming launch and docking of ATV-2 with the station and the launch of an ELV (Delta IV) from the Cape. To prevent these conflicts, a 24 h launch slip was proposed for STS-133, to allow time to dock the ATV with the station and still allow for the flight rule of 72 hours between station dockings. However, a slip on the ATV launch moved the Shuttle docking closer again, so NASA decided to return to the original schedule for the Shuttle—launching just 6 hours after the ATV docked with the space station. The scheduled date to launch the Delta, March 11, would require the Shuttle to land by March 10. This still allowed the mission plan, with a landing at the Cape planned for either March 8 or 9 and a 2-day contingency for safety. Launching vehicles into space, bringing them together in orbit, and returning them home again is never straightforward.

The ascent to orbit occurred without incident on February 24, and over the next two days the crew checked the orbiter’s heat shield and EVA equipment. Following the backflip for further heat shield inspection by the station crew, Discovery docked on February 26 at the Harmony module. Within 2 hours, the internal hatches were open and the combined crew of 12 astronauts and cosmo­nauts completed the ceremonial greetings before getting straight down to the joint work program.

Another space first for this mission was the combined docking of all available resupply craft at the station at the same time—Shuttle, Progress, Soyuz, ATV, and the recently arrived Japanese HTV—something that would not be achieved again. A planned fly-around of the new Soyuz TMA-M was canceled by the Russians as an unnecessary risk for the new spacecraft on its maiden flight, a safety issue agreed to by both the American and Russian partners.

From inside the docked vehicles, the astronauts used the Shuttle RMS and station robotic arm to move the ELC-4 across to the truss structure on February 24 for unloading at a later date. There were two EVAs (totaling 12 h 48 min) com­pleted during this mission, by Drew and Bowen.

The first EVA (February 28, 6h 34 min) featured the installation of a backup power cable between the Unity and Tranquility nodes. The two astronauts also moved the now redundant failed 800 lb (362.88 kg) ammonia pump to the External Stowage Platform-2 for return to Earth (possibly during the STS-135 flight at this point) for postflight analysis and determination of its unexpected and unexplained July 2010 failure. The astronauts also installed a Japanese education exposure experiment that would be retrieved on the very next EVA.

Between EVAs, on March 1, the PMM was moved to its permanent position on the Earth-facing (nadir) port on Unity. Protection shields had been fitted to its exterior to ensure it would endure at least 10 years in orbit as part of the ISS. The second EVA (March 2, 6h 14 min) featured a range of maintenance tasks and the retrieval of the Japanese education exposure experiment.

During the docked phase, logistics transfers continued and the crew assisted in outfitting the station to expand its scientific operations. The Robonaut unit, which was still boxed up in foam packaging, raised a few smiles during the crew’s con­versation with U. S. President Barack Obama when Lindsey joked that the crew was sure that every now and again they could hear scratching from inside the crate! The crew also tested a SpaceX DragonEye sensor, essentially a Light Detec­tion and Ranging (LIDAR) system, designed to evaluate alternative technologies for use in future automated and manned spacecraft docking with the station.

The crew enjoyed a couple of days rest prior to undocking on March 6 after 7 days 23 hours 55 minutes of joint activities. The landing occurred during the night of March 9 and with it Discovery completed its final mission into space.

In a 27 yr career which began with the STS-41D mission during August and September 1984, the orbiter had logged 39 missions, completed 15,830 orbits, and flown 148,221,675 miles. A few hours after landing, Discovery was towed to the OPF for the final time, where it would be de-processed, decontaminated, and finally decommissioned before relocation to a museum for public display. Sadly, the final acts of the operational Shuttle era were being played out.


280th world manned space flight 163rd U. S. manned space flight 35th Shuttle ISS mission 133rd Shuttle flight 13 th Discovery ISS flight 39th and last Discovery flight First back-to-back Shuttle flight by an astronaut (Bowen) First time public helped to choose crew wake-up songs

The Boeing Company

Boeing is developing the Crew Space Transportation (CST-100) crew capsule, initially for launch on an Atlas V. The CST, which can carry a crew of seven, is a cone-shaped capsule resembling the Apollo Command Module, but with a dry­land recovery capability. This new Boeing design is larger than the vehicle which took American astronauts to the Moon between 1968 and 1972, to the Skylab space station in 1973, and docked with a Soviet Soyuz in 1975. However, when compared with the previously proposed Orion deep-space vehicle, the CST-100 is smaller in size.

On August 3, 2012, NASA announced the next step in the development of a new American manned spacecraft by revealing three new partnership agreements with SpaceX ($440 million), Boeing ($460 million), and Sierra Nevada ($212.5 million). As a direct result of Congressional restrictions, the competition was reduced from the original five companies competing for the contract to just two, with a third receiving half funds as an added insurance against unforeseen technical hurdles with either of the other two proposals. SpaceX and Boeing were to develop, test, and mature their designs through to the Critical Design Review (CDR) due in April 2014. This would keep the program on target for its first demonstration flights, which are expected to begin in 2016, achieving operational status from 2017 when the chosen vehicle could be flying crews to the ISS. NASA decided to continue to support the development of Sierra Nevada’s Dream Chaser concept as the backup option, and while the concept is not expected to participate in the CDR phase it will add further technical analysis of the design and concept of lifting body designs to the data already gathered over the previous 50 years.

As these programs are still in development and the details likely to change, it is too early to include specific information here. Hopefully, the vehicle that becomes America’s next operational manned spacecraft launching crews to the ISS will be in service in time for when the next edition of this log is published.

By 2020, it is also expected that the Boeing Orion spacecraft will be available for crew expeditions into deep space, although its final targets are far from certain at this point.


Flight crew

SAMOKUTYAEV, Alexander Mikhailovich 41, Russian Federation Air Force,

RSA Soyuz TMA commander/ISS-27/28 flight engineer

BORISENKO, Andrei Ivanovich, 46, civilian, RSA Soyuz TMA flight

engineer/ISS-27 flight engineer/ISS-28 commander

GARAN Jr., Ronald John, 49, USAF (Retd.), NASA Soyuz TMA and

ISS-27/28 flight engineer, second mission

Previous mission: STS-124 (2008)

Flight log

It was poignant that the next manned launch was Russian, as it occurred just eight days before the 50th anniversary of the world’s first manned space flight, by Yuri Gagarin in Vostok on April 12, 1961. The radio call sign for Soyuz TMA-21 became “Gagarin” in celebration of that historic event. It was also fitting that the crew emblem of this Russian/American crew featured the name of (Alan) Shepard, the first American in space (suborbital), just three weeks after Gagarin’s flight. It was an excellent way of linking the early pioneers to the modern day space explorers. The contrast between these two eras is readily apparent in the flight durations. The combined flights of Gagarin and Shepard logged just over 123 minutes in flight, whereas the TMA-21 crew were embarking on a 165-day mission, joining the crew that was already on the station when the “Gagarin” Soyuz left the pad.

The TMA-21 mission continued the uninterrupted science work on board the station, and would also be noted for receiving the final Shuttle missions on the manifest. In the Russian segment, the ISS-27/28 increment was planned to


Celebrating the 50th anniversary of Gagarin’s historic journey. Garan, Samokutyaev, and Borisenko pose outside their Soyuz TMA-21 spacecraft, which bears the likeness of the first cosmonaut, and was given the call sign Gagarin in honor of the celebration. Photo credit: NASA/Victor Zelentsov.

conduct a program of 725 sessions covering 50 experiments, of which only three were new. To accomplish this, the Russian crew members were assigned 174 hours 25 minutes of experiment time during the ISS-27 phase and 359 hours 20 minutes under the ISS-28 program. Across in the American segment, there were a further 111 experiments, supported by a network of over 200 researchers around the world. NASA was sponsoring 73 of these experiments, with 22 under the auspices of the U. S. National Laboratory program and another 38 experiments sponsored by other partner agencies. These would take up over 540 hours of crew time.

This increment continued the rotational 3/6/3/6 crewing sequence of earlier expeditions. A three-person crew operated ISS-27 from March 16 to April 6, with the crew of six operating between May 7 and 24. The ISS-28 crew continued as a three-person occupation from May 24 to June 9, returning to a six-person crew between June 10 and September 16. This was of course very positive for the opera­tional side of the ISS program and the overall long-term expansion of human space exploration at large. However, for those who record the assignments and activities for each space explorer or expedition, it was becoming more difficult to keep track of individual records as one expedition blended into the next.

The April 7 docking with Poisk was followed three hours later by crew transfer into the main station compartments. The combined crew completed the usual welcome and safety briefings procedures, highlighted by speaking to their families at Mission Control in Korolev (Moscow). One amusing incident occurred when Garan’s wife reminded him that she was safely holding his credit card while he was “out of town”. The Soyuz was mothballed on April 7 and the crews got down to their well-orchestrated blend of science, maintenance, housekeeping, safety, and some time out for sleep and personal hygiene.

The first scheduled visitors, on STS-134, were delayed by technical problems preventing the launch, so the resident crew continued with their own program, demonstrating the flexibility of the timeline of long space flights. The Shuttle mission finally arrived on May 18 and this was followed by the departure of the TMA-20 crew, signaling the end of the ISS-27 expedition with their undocking on May 23. Handover of command between Kondratyev and Borisenko had taken place the day before.

The crew continued as a three-person residency until the arrival of the Soyuz TMA-02M on June 9. During the residency, the complex was reboosted several times using the engines on the ATV-2, to maintain its operational altitude while the science program continued on board the station. In July, the final Shuttle mission (STS-135) visited the station, marking the end of Shuttle operations. From this point, the Soyuz and Progress vehicles of Russia, Europe’s ATV, and Japan’s HTY would be the only operational resupply systems for the station. There were plans under way to launch new commercial vehicles to the complex, in order to test the feasibility of such systems for future use. It also emerged that detailed studies were under way to evaluate the use of the station up to 2028, if the partners could verify that the various components could work effectively and safely for that long.

On August 1, Samokutyaev and Volkov completed a 6h 23min EVA, deploy­ing scientific experiments and an experimental high-speed laser communication system outside the Russian segment. The two cosmonauts also removed a rendez­vous antenna which was no longer needed and deployed by hand a small, 571b (25.85 kg) ham radio satellite, as part of the 50th anniversary celebrations of Gagarin’s flight in Vostok. A planned relocation of the Strela-1 (“Arrow-1”) crane was postponed until 2012. The final task was to have photographs taken, with the two men holding pictures of Gagarin, spacecraft designer Sergei Korolev, and space theorist Konstantin Tsiolkovsky and using the Earth as a backdrop. The three images had been displayed inside Zvezda for years and were returned there after their trip into open space.

Later that month, on August 24, station operations were dealt a blow with the loss of Progress M-12M some 5 minutes 25 seconds into the launch phase. The Soyuz-U (R-7) launch vehicle’s third stage ignited for 25 seconds but, following a loss of pressure, promptly shut down resulting in a loss of velocity and subsequent crash. This was the first ever loss of a Progress craft during launch since the series began back in 1978. On board the resupply craft was 5,8631b (2,659 kg) of sup­plies, propellant, and oxygen. Repercussions from this loss included delaying the landing of the TMA-21 crew by a week, but the TMA-02M crew would return as planned in mid-November. The next manned flight would have to be delayed from September 22 to late October or early November.

The Soyuz TMA had an on-orbit operational life (mothballed and docked with the ISS) of 210 days and there were more than enough supplies on board the station (thanks to the final Shuttle flights) to keep a crew sustained for over a year, so there was no immediate risk to the crew on board. Nevertheless, it was still a difficult time for the Russians, with talk of lack of confidence in their space hardware and manufacturing/processing systems and the potential prospect of abandoning the station by all crew members if the R-7 could not be recertified for operations. After the next two unmanned launches, one commercial and another Progress, this requalification would come during the ISS-29 crew duty shift; the ISS-28 crew was due to come home.

After the delay due to the loss of the Progress resupply craft, the handover of station command from Borisenko to Fossum took place on September 14. The TMA-21 crew returned to their Soyuz craft and closed the hatches late on the following day, with undocking occurring in the early hours of September 16. There was some anxiety in Russian Mission Control after the planned 3 min black­out period, when communications with the cosmonauts in the Descent Module could not be established. Fortunately, contact was soon restored and the trio landed safely, apparently unaware of any communication problems.

During the 165-day flight, the crew logged approximately 162 days on board the station, with 160 days as part of expeditions. This included 45 days as members of the ISS-27 phase and 115 days as the prime ISS-28 crew.


281st manned space flight 115th Russian manned space flight 108th manned Soyuz 21st manned Soyuz TMA 26th ISS Soyuz mission (26S)

27/28th ISS resident crew

Became the last crew to host a visiting Shuttle mission (STS-135)

Borisenko is accredited with being the 200th person to enter the ISS facility


Подпись: STS-134
Подпись: 2011-020A May 16, 2011 LC39A, KSC, Florida, U.S.A. June 1, 2011 Runway 15, KSC, Florida, U.S.A. OV-105 Endeavour/ET-122/SRB BI-145/SSME: #1 2059, #2 2061, #3 2057 15da 17h 38min 22s Endeavour ISS ULF-6

Flight crew

KELLY, Mark Ehward, USN, NASA commander, fourth mission Previous missions: STS-108 (2001), STS-121 (2006), STS-124 (2008) JOHNSON, Gregory Harold, USAF (Retd.), NASA pilot, second mission Previous mission: STS-123 (2008)

FINCKE, Edward Michael, USAF, NASA mission specialist 1, third mission Previous missions: Soyuz TMA-4/ISS-9 (2004), Soyuz TMA-14/ISS-18 (2008) VITTORI, Roberto, Italian Air Force, ESA mission specialist 2, third mission Previous missions: Soyuz TM-34 (2002), Soyuz TMA-6 (2005)

FEUSTEL, Andrew Jay, civilian, NASA mission specialist 3, second mission Previous mission: STS-125 (2009)

CHAMITOFF, Gregory Errol, civilian, NASA mission specialist 4, second mission

Previous mission: STS-124/126/ISS-17/18 (2008)

Flight log

The 25th mission of Endeavour, the last vehicle to join the fleet in 1992, was also to be its final space flight. Designated STS-134, this was a utilization and logistics mission that had originally been manifested as the final flight in the Shuttle program, until STS-135 was added. Endeavour’s swansong delivered the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer-2 (AMS-02) experiment to the space station. This is a particle physics detector designed to search for a range of unusual matter by measuring cosmic rays. It was planned that the gathered data would be used in research into the study of the formation of the universe, in the search for evidence of dark matter, strange matter, and antimatter. In addition to the AMS, Endeavour carried the ExPRESS Logistics Carrier-3 (ELC-3), a platform full of spares. The mission would also see the final scheduled EVAs by Shuttle crew members, ending an impressive 28 yr series of space walks by orbiter crews.


One of the first pictures of a Shuttle docked with the ISS from the perspective of a Soyuz spacecraft (TMA-20).

The original launch date in March was delayed due to technical issues. This was also compounded by the tragic shooting in Arizona of Congresswoman Gabrielle Gifford, the wife of mission commander Mark Kelly. The event also placed NASA in a difficult situation, if Kelly required more time with his wife as she recovered. Replacing a commander of a mission so close to launch had never occurred in previous missions, so veteran Shuttle commander Richard Sturckow was assigned as backup commander as a precaution. Gabrielle Gifford’s recovery was remarkable, to the point that she was able to attend the planned April 29 launch attempt. However, as a result of technical problems with an Auxiliary Power Unit on the Shuttle, the launch was canceled four hours prior to liftoff and postponed until May. Fortunately, Gifford was also able to make it to the Cape to witness the May 16 launch, unlike U. S. President Barrack Obama and his family, who had witnessed the April 29 abort, toured the center, and met with the Gifford’s but were unable to reschedule a visit for the May launch. The series of delays also meant that Mark Kelly would not join his twin brother Scott in orbit. Scott had been on the space station since the previous October and was the serving space station commander, but returned home before STS-134 launched.

Endeavour and its experienced crew of six left the pad at KSC for the final time on May 16, 2011, just over 50 years after Alan Shepard became the first

American in space on May 5, 1961, and nine days prior to the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s commitment to place Americans on the Moon by the end of 1969. Though the entire Endeavour crew consisted of space flight veterans, Fincke and Vittori were making their first flights on the Shuttle, having previously flown to the ISS atop Russian rockets aboard Soyuz spacecraft. Vittori became the final non-NASA astronaut to fly a Shuttle mission.

During the standard 2-day flight to the ISS, the Shuttle crew checked out the RMS and used it to examine the Thermal Protection System. Meanwhile, the EVA crew prepared the EVA suits and equipment. The crew was also scheduled to evaluate the Sensor Test of Orion Relative Navigation Risk Mitigation (STORRM) during their mission. This equipment evaluated sensor techniques for routine spacecraft docking with the ISS. Evaluations would be taken during ren­dezvous and docking and a later re-rendezvous with the station following the undocking towards the end of the mission.

Endeavour completed its 12th and final docking with the ISS on May 18 at PMA-2, with internal hatches opened just a few hours later. Following the usual welcoming ceremony and safety briefings by the resident station crew, the joint program of activities began. The ELC-3 pallet was transferred from the RMS to Canadarm2 some 5 hours after docking and was then installed on the P3 truss. Loaded on the pallet were two communication antennas, a high-pressure gas tank, and spare parts for the Dextre robotic device. The next day, the AMS-02 unit was transferred to the top of the S3 truss, where it is scheduled to remain to at least 2020. To avoid interference with other systems and storage platforms, the unit was installed at a 12° angle. The AMS science program is a global program involving 600 scientists and technicians from 56 institutions across 16 nations. The simpler AMS-01 flew on the Shuttle in June 1998, as part of the STS-91 payload.

During the mission, Italian astronaut Roberto Vittori carried out a program of six ASI-sponsored experiments under the DAMA Mission (named for the AMS search for dark matter). Vittori served as a test subject of two ESA experiments which studied possible changes to his body after the flight. This was part of a program of investigations in the fields of technology, nuclear power, biology, and materials. The Italian astronaut also assisted in the transfer of cargo into the station and unwanted material back into the orbiter.

The mission included four EVAs, totaling 28 h 33 min, shared between Feustel, Chamitoff, and Fincke. The first EVA (May 20, 6h 19 min) was conducted by Feustel and Chamitoff. They installed an ammonia jump cable that would connect the coolant loops of the station’s P3 and P4 segments, installed a cover on an SARJ and removed the MISSE 7A and 7B experiment packages from the Express Logistics Carrier-2, replacing them with the MISSE-8 experimental package. An external communication antenna was also installed on the Destiny Laboratory, to provide a link between the various ExPRESS Logistics Carriers mounted on the outside of the station. An issue with a carbon dioxide level sensor on Chamitoff’s suit caused concern in the latter stages of the EVA, with some tasks delayed to a subsequent space walk to maintain safety. Prior to this there had been no indication of a C02 problem, but the EVA ended a little earlier than planned and the issue did not reoccur.

The second EVA (May 22, 8h 7 min) by Feustel and Fincke featured a program of maintenance work. They refueled one of the station’s port side cooling loops with 51b (1.26 kg) of ammonia and also lubricated the port side SARJ and one of the “hands” on Dextre. Storage beams were fixed on the SI truss segment and a camera cover was installed on Dextre to end the space walk.

Between the second and third EVAs, the resident station crew was reduced from six to three with the departure of the ISS-27 crew in Soyuz TMA-20 on May 23. The delay in launching Endeavour, coupled with a delay in undocking the Soyuz, had created the unique situation of a Shuttle being docked with the station during the departure of a Soyuz crew. The remaining three TMA-21 crew members on the station now became the ISS-28 resident crew. As the TMA-20 retreated to about 600 ft (182.88 m) away from the Rassvet Module, Nespoli took a series of stunning digital images and video of Endeavour docked with the station from the viewing port in the Soyuz Orbital Module. At the same time, the whole station was rotated about 130°, which was a rare maneuver in itself, allowing the Italian astronaut some of the best views possible during a 30 min period.

Looking towards the future, the third EVA made use of a new EVA pre­breathe protocol, known as the In-Suit Light Exercise (ISLE). Instead of the normal Campout Pre-breathe Protocol System, where the astronauts breathe pure oxygen for 60 minutes in the airlock, this new technique saw the air pressure of the airlock lowered to 10.2 psi (703 hPa). The astronauts then put on their space suits and performed light exercise, before resting for an additional 50 minutes, breathing pure oxygen all the while prior to exiting the airlock to conduct the EVA.

Activities during EVA 3 (May 25, 6h 54 min) completed by Feustel and Fincke included an upgrade to Canadarm2, installing a power and data grapple feature on the Russian Zarya module that would enable the station arm to “walk” across to the Russian segment and conduct robotic operations there. This had not been possible before and would now extend the range of the station’s robotic arm system. The astronauts also installed additional cables between the American Unity module and the Russian Zarya module, which would provide backup power to the Russian segment. A series of photos were taken of the effects of the Zarya thrusters on the skin of the module, along with verbal information on the condition at various work sites which was relayed to the ground. The astronauts also completed the work postponed from the first EVA due to the suit malfunction.

The fourth and final EVA (May 27, 7h 24 min) by Fincke and Chamitoff was the last scheduled EVA by a Shuttle crew, ending a program which had started back in 1983 during STS-6. It had included 162 excursions, many of these essential for station assembly since 1998. Ironically, the final “Shuttle” EVA was not actually from a Shuttle Orbiter, but from the Quest airlock on ISS. The last EVAs directly from a Shuttle Orbiter had occurred in 2009 during the STS-125 Hubble Servicing Mission. Since 2001, most Shuttle crew EVAs had actually been from the Quest airlock on the station rather than through the middeck airlock/hatch system on the orbiter. For this final EVA, the astronauts assisted with the transfer of the 50 ft (15.24m) Orbiter Boom Sensor System (OBSS) from the orbiter across to the starboard truss and installed a new grappling system, extending the reach of the station’s robotic arm even farther. This EVA also saw station EVA operations pass the 1,000 h mark since assembly began in December 1998.

In three space walks, Fincke logged 22 hours 25 minutes, while Feustel accumulated 21 hours 10 minutes. Chamitoff recorded 13 hours 43 minutes in his two trips outside. The EVAs were followed by the completion of cargo transfers and logistics to and from the ISS.

The astronauts conducted a number of media and public outreach activities before undocking from the station on May 29, after 11 days 17 hours and 41 minutes attached to the complex. A fly-around and photo-documentation of the station’s exterior was followed by a final test of the STORRM rendezvous system from 1,044ft (318.21m) below and 300ft (91.44m) behind the station. When Endeavour landed at KSC, the youngest orbiter had completed the 25th mission of its career, having traveled 122,883,151 miles (19,771,898 km) in 4,677 orbits of Earth and 299 days in space. Endeavour would remain at the Cape for decommissioning before being dispatched to its new museum home.

With the installation of the AMS-2 payload, the official assembly complete point of the U. S. segment was met. In fact, most of the station was now complete, with only a couple of Russian modules and some desired large experiments to be launched. The station was no longer a construction site but a research facility. This was made possible by the series of Shuttle assembly missions since 1998 … and now there was only one left on the manifest.


282nd world manned space flight 164th U. S. manned space flight 36th Shuttle ISS mission 134 th Shuttle flight 25th and final flight of Endeavour 12th Endeavour ISS flight

Vittori first Italian ESA astronaut to fly on both Soyuz and Shuttle missions Last non-NASA astronaut to fly on a Shuttle mission (Vittori)


In 2004 a concept for a new program to send humans back to the Moon and out to Mars was announced by NASA as part of the Vision for Exploration. Under the label of the Constellation Program, a new Crew Exploration Vehicle was pro­posed for human crews to meet those objectives and eventually received the name Orion. In 2005 designs were sought from industry and in August 2006 Lockheed Martin Corporation won the contract. Development began on the spacecraft and program as the replacement for the Space Shuttle, but the change of administra­tion in the White House and a new President saw the cancellation of Constellation as originally envisaged. Orion was redesignated the Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle and is currently undergoing development for a wide range of missions to the Moon, Mars, and the asteroids as well as a backup vehicle for cargo and crews

An artist’s impression of the proposed Orion spacecraft.

A future Orion-class spacecraft docks with the ISS.

supporting ISS operations. Numerous ground and atmospheric tests and mock-ups have been developed and though it is expected that the first unmanned flight tests of the vehicle in space will commence around 2014, the first astronauts are not expected to fly on board the MPCV/Orion before 2020.


Подпись: International designator Launched Launch site Landed Landing site Launch vehicle Duration Call sign Objective 2011-023A June 7, 2011

Pad 1, Site 5, Baikonur Cosmodrome, Republic of


November 22, 2011

Near the town of Arkalyk, Republic of Kazakhstan Soyuz-FG (R-7) (serial number И15000-037),

Soyuz TMA-M (serial number 702)

167 da 6h 12 min 5 s Eridanus

ISS resident crew transport ISS-28/29 (7S)

Flight crew

VOLKOV, Sergei Alexandrovich, 38, Russian Federation Air Force, Russian, RSA, Soyuz TMA-M commander, ISS-28/29 flight engineer, second mission Previous mission: Soyuz TMA-12/ISS-17 (2008)

FURUKAWA, Satoshi, 47, civilian (Japanese), JAXA, Soyuz TMA-M and ISS-28/29 flight engineer

FOSSUM, Michael Edward, 53, NASA, Soyuz TMA-M flight engineer, ISS-28 flight engineer, ISS-29 commander, third mission Previous missions: STS-121 (2006), STS-124 (2008)

Flight log

Flying the second upgraded TMA-M spacecraft into space were another truly international trio, who docked their spacecraft with the Rassvet module on June 9 (June 10, Moscow time). They entered the space station in the early hours of the following day to complete the required safety and update briefings. During the 2-day flight to the space station, the crew had completed the flight development tests begun on Soyuz TMA-M, further qualifying the new vehicle for operational missions.

In the early part of their residency, the three new crew members participated in preparations for the departure of the ATV-2 resupply vehicle from the aft Zvezda port on June 20 and the arrival of Progress M-11M at that same docking location three days later. On June 28, the six crew members had to shelter in their respective Soyuz craft (TMA-21/TMA-02M) as an unidentified piece of orbital debris (designated Object 82618, unknown) passed within just 820 ft (249.93 m) of the station, possibly the closest near miss in the station’s history.

The crew’s experiment program included, in the Russian segment, 725 sessions on 50 experiments, of which 47 were continuations from the previous increments.


To accomplish this target, there were 359 hours 20 minutes planned for the crew, as well as supportive work during the exchange of crews. There was no dedicated ISS-29 press kit released (instead the kits went from ISS-27/28 to 30/31) to identify research work in the American segment, but it is clear that the work continued without interruption in all sections of the station during this period.

The final Shuttle mission (STS-13 5) arrived at the station on July 10 and remained docked with the station until July 18. On July 12, resident crew members Fossum and Garan donned American EMUs and exited the Quest airlock for a 6h 30min space walk (see STS-135 entry) which was the final space walk of the Shuttle era. On August 1, Volkov accompanied Samokutyaev on a 6h 23 min EVA from the Russian segment (see Soyuz TMA-21 entry).

On August 14, the Zarya module, the first element of the station launched in November 1998, completed 73,000 orbits of Earth.

On September 14, Fossum assumed command of the outpost from Borisenko, ending the ISS-28 phase and commencing the ISS-29 phase. The official end of the outgoing expedition occurred with the undocking of TMA-21 two days later. With the departure of the ISS-28 prime crew, the ISS-29 crew continued as a three – person residence pending the arrival of TMA-22. For the next few weeks, science and maintenance occupied the crew’s time. This included work with Robonaut 2, putting the unit through some at times difficult mobility tests of its hand and neck joints.

On September 29, after a decade of being the only space station in orbit, the ISS was joined by a new neighbor—the Chinese Tiangong-1 (“Heavenly Palace – 1”) mini space module. This was similar to, but slightly smaller than, the early Soviet Salyut space stations launched in the 1970s. A month later, on October 31, the unmanned Shenzhou 8 was launched into orbit on a mission to evaluate the new space station’s docking mechanism. Clearly, a new era of space station operations had begun.

Back on the ISS the science work continued. This trio would be joined by their colleagues when Soyuz TMA-22 docked at the Poisk module on November 16. This was to be a short six-person residency, due to the delays caused by the loss of Progress M-12M the previous August. The first few days of the full crew were a busy time, as the TMA-02M trio prepared to return home. The formal transfer of command from Fossum to Dan Burbank occurred on November 20 and the ISS-29 trio undocked their Soyuz in the early hours of November 22.

The atmospheric burn-up of the discarded modules was captured on video by the station residents as the Descent Module containing the three crew members continued its descent towards Earth. The crew landed safely, although in subzero temperatures. Shortly afterwards, Volkov was flown back to the Cosmonaut Training Center near Moscow and Fossum and Furukawa flew on a NASA jet back to Houston, Texas for postffight readaptation and debriefings.

The crew had spent 166 days on board the station out of the 168 days logged in space. Of these, 97 days were spent as part of the ISS-28 expedition and 67 as prime ISS-29 residents.


283rd manned space flight 116th Russian manned space flight 109 th manned Soyuz

2nd manned Soyuz TMA-M and 2nd test flight of the new variant 27th ISS Soyuz mission (7S)

28/29th ISS resident crew


Подпись: STS-135
Подпись: 2011-031A July 8, 2011 LC39A, KSC, Florida, U.S.A. July 21, 2011 Runway 15, Shuttle Landing Facility, KSC, Florida, U.S.A. OV-104 Atlantis/ET-138/SRB BI-146/SSME: #1 2047, #2 2060, #3 2045 12da 18h 27min 52s Atlantis ULF-7

Flight crew

FERGUSON, Christopher John, 49, USN Retired, NASA commander, third mission

Previous missions: STS-115 (2006), STS-126 (2008)

HURLEY, Douglas Gerald, 44, USMC, NASA pilot, second mission Previous mission: STS-127 (2009)

MAGNUS, Sandra Hall, 46, civilian, NASA mission specialist 1, third mission Previous missions: STS-112 (2002), STS-126/ISS-18/119 (2008/2009) WALHEIM, Rex Joseph, 48, USAF (Retd.), NASA mission specialist 2, third mission

Previous missions: STS-110 (2002), STS-122 (2008)

Flight log

The finale of the 30 yr Space Shuttle program came in July 2011 with the flight of STS-135. This was a mission added to the manifest to utilize the remaining avail­able hardware and was a final opportunity to stock up the station and remove a quantity of unwanted material and trash before finally retiring the fleet.

When Ken Ham and the rest of the STS-132 crew returned in May 2010, discussions were already under way over the possibility of flying one more Atlantis mission. In light of this, Ham called his recent mission “the first last flight of Atlantis” and so it proved. The orbiter had one processing cycle to go through, as rescue orbiter for STS-134—the “first” last Shuttle flight—but once the new flight had been authorized, this became the final processing cycle as, following the STS – 134 mission, the vehicle was processed for STS-135.

Towards the end of 2010, it had become more likely that the mission would indeed fly once the funding had been organized, and by January 2011 the mission was included in the internal flight roster for planning purposes. In February,


The final Space Shuttle launch, July 8, 2011.

NASA management was told that the mission would fly even if adequate funds were not found, but the budget for the mission was authorized in April after saving funds in other areas. By that time, preparations for the mission were well on the way towards completion anyway.

For the final time, the Shuttle ground processing team geared up for a launch. The stacking of the SRBs began towards the end of March 2011, with the ET being attached on April 25. Atlantis was rolled from the OPF across to the YAB on May 16, and by May 18 the stack was completed. The rollout to the pad occurred on the night of May 31/June 1, with the Rafaello MPLM being installed in the payload bay of Atlantis on June 20. The manifest also included a significant number of commemorative items and the U. S. flag that had flown on STS-1, along with a special 9/11 flag. With everything ready for a planned July 8 launch, the July 4 Independence Day weekend was kept free to allow for some extra processing margin. All eyes looked at the weather, which appeared to be the only concern (as it had been so many times) but when NASA affirmed the July 8 launch date, even nature cooperated to see the Shuttle program off in fine style.

Designated ULF-7, the payload included the Raffaello MPLM packed with over 9,0001b (4082.4 kg) of supplies and the Robotic Refueling Mission (RRM) experiment. This was an experiment to demonstrate and test the tools, techniques, and technologies required to develop a robotic satellite-refueling capability, even though the target vehicle might not be designed to be refueled. The astronauts were also to return a failed ammonia pump for evaluation by engineers prior to refurbishment for relaunch at some future date.

After an incident-free launch and ascent to orbit, the crew prepared for the ISS docking by checking the vehicle, inspecting the TPS, and setting up the rendezvous tools and EMUs. Throughout the mission, the crew received well wishes from family, friends, fellow workers, and the general public as the final Shuttle flight continued. Docking with the station occurred on July 10, with the prime ISS resident crew tolling the ship’s bell for an incoming spacecraft one final time for a Shuttle orbiter. One hour and 40 minutes after docking, the hatches were opened and the two crews welcomed each other, followed by the mandatory safety briefings and status updates. The only EVA during the mission would be conducted by the station crew from Quest.

Work began almost immediately, with the RMS used to relocate the 50 ft (80.45 m) external boom to Canadarm2 for the inspection of the Shuttle Thermal Protection System. As the boom was now permanently part of the station, this inspection could not be completed by the crew the day after launch. On July 11, the Raffaello module was transferred to the Harmony Node in a 30 min operation. The supplies included 2,6771b (1,214.28 kg) of food, enough for a full year for the station crews. The crew relocated some of the cargo from Raffaello into PMA-3, with the supplies packed in 17 different racks inside the pressurized logistics module. These included eight Resupply Stowage Platforms (RSP), two Inter­mediate Stowage Platforms (ISP), six Resupply Stowage Racks (RSR), and one Zero Stowage Rack. An additional 2,2281b (1,010.62 kg) of cargo was stowed on the middeck of Atlantis which also had to be transferred to the station. Sandra Magnus was loadmaster over a planned 130 hours of unloading time during the docked phase. Once empty, the module would be refilled with 5,6661b (2,570.09 kg) of equipment no longer needed on the station, plus discontinued logistics and trash. After an evaluation of available consumables, an extra day was added to the mission to give the crew additional time to relocate all the cargo and supplies between the vehicles.

The EVA from the Quest airlock was performed by ISS astronauts Fossum and Garan on July 12. It lasted 6 hours 3 minutes. The reason for the station crew performing the EVA was essentially one of time and experience. Confirma­tion that STS-135 would actually launch came late in the cycle, so the training of the crew focused mainly on getting to and from the station and handling the massive cargo transfer. Contingency EVA training was included, but as the astro­nauts were all Shuttle veterans this made the compressed training cycle much easier to accomplish. The two station resident astronauts, Garan and Fossum, had logged nine previous EVAs between them, three of which were performed together during STS-124 in 2008, so they were used to working together as a team. It was also possible that with so many supplies being delivered, the weight saved from flying no more than four crew members could be reallocated to the logistics manifest.

The objective of this EVA was to retrieve a faulty 1,4001b (635.04 kg) ammonia pump module which had failed in 2010 and had been stowed in the

External Storage Module 2 during STS-133 earlier in the year. The two ISS astronauts relocated it to the cargo bay of Atlantis to be returned and refurbished as a spare unit. They also set up the RRM experiment on an external pallet and released a stuck latch on the Data Grapple Fixture at the front of Zarya. This would extend the operating envelope of Canadarm2 across to the Russian segment to support robotics work. A further material experiment was also deployed from a carrier located on the station’s truss. This was the eighth such experiment, with this one focused upon optical reflection materials. Originally attached during STS-134, it had not been deployed due to concerns from outgassing from the AMS unit. Finally, to close out the EVA, insulation was installed on the end of the Tranquility PM A in an area that was exposed to the effects of sunlight.

Throughout the mission, the Shuttle crew received a number of special wake-up calls in celebration of the end of the program. On July 11, much was made in reports of an “all American meal” which featured grilled chicken, corn, baked beans, cheese, and the traditional apple pie. This was also reported on the NASA website. The meal was originally planned for July 4, but the launch delays postponed it for a week.

On July 15, almost at the end of the 30 yr Shuttle program, U. S. President Barack Obama called Atlantis, wishing them well on their mission. The crew later solved a problem with the fourth general purpose computer on Atlantis, which required it to be rebooted to get it up and running again. Later, the EVA suits were reconfigured in order to leave them behind on the station. As the checklist of tasks remaining shortened, so the four Shuttle astronauts supported the station crew in relocating some of the cargo they had delivered to ease the post-docking workload for the resident crew as much as they could. The Shuttle crew also repaired a broken access door to the Shuttle air revitalization system, where the lithium hydroxide canisters that purified the air inside the orbiter were exchanged. On July 16, the 42nd anniversary of the launch of Apollo 11, Ferguson formally presented the station crew with the historic U. S. flag that had flown aboard Columbia on STS-1 30 years before. This flag will remain on board the space station until the next crew launched from the soil of the United States arrives at the orbiting facility to return it to Earth once again.

Hatches between the two spacecraft were closed for the final time on July 18 after 7 days 21 hours and 41 minutes. The next day, after a few hours’ sleep on board Atlantis, the crew undocked from the station after 8 days 15 hours and 21 minutes of being attached to the orbital facility, ending a period of Space Shuttle station dockings that had begun 16 years before, with the flight of STS-71 to Mir in 1995. Safely undocked, the crew backed the orbiter away for the formal fly-around maneuver to photo-document the exterior of the station. The station was yawed 90 degrees for an optimum view during the 27 min photo opportunity, which captured never-before-seen views of the longitudinal axis of the station from the Shuttle. With this completed, it was time to fire the separation engines and depart from the vicinity of the station to begin final preparations for the flight home.

On the day before landing (July 20), the crew performed the traditional pre-landing checks of the Thermal Protection System, Flight Control Systems, and RCS engines for the final time on a Shuttle mission. The last science objectives of the program were completed with the deployment of the PicoSat technology demonstration satellite from a small canister in the payload bay and an onboard experiment on osmosis was also conducted by the crew. On July 21, to the wake – up call of God Bless America by Kate Smith, there was a tribute to all those who had been involved in the program since its inception over 40 years ago. Even the weather was cooperating, helping to celebrate the end of an era of American manned space flight in fine style as Atlantis swooped to a perfect pre-dawn landing at the Cape.

By the end of its last mission, Atlantis had traveled 125,935,769 million miles (20,263,063 km) over 33 missions, logging over 307 days in space, and completing 4,848 orbits of Earth. When the crew disembarked, there remained only the period of decommissioning after the mission and then a program of preparations for shipping the Atlantis to its new museum home. But before the vehicle had cooled down from its fiery reentry, the celebrations and emotional recollections had begun. For commander Ferguson, the realization that the Shuttle program was over came when the wheels stopped on the runway and the vehicle was powered down. In the pre-dawn darkness the displays went blank and the vehicle fell silent, creating a “rush of emotion” for the commander.

The Shuttle program had created many milestones and memories over 30 years, but never again would an orbiter of that design venture into space. Its work was done and it was time to move aside for new generations of human spacecraft to write the next pages in space history. The Shuttle era was finally over.


284th world manned space flight 165th U. S. manned space flight 37th and final Shuttle ISS mission 135th Shuttle flight 33rd and final Atlantis flight 12th Atlantis ISS flight Final Shuttle flight of program

First four-person Shuttle crew since STS-6 in April 1983


Whichever new vehicle design is finally chosen to return American astronauts to space from U. S. launch sites it will need to support programs not only in various types of Earth orbit, but also those planned for journeys far beyond our planet, using far more advanced spacecraft to make the actual journeys. There are a range of options available for future space planners and explorers to aim for.

Low (and other) Earth orhit operations

The ISS will continue to be at the forefront of Earth orbital operations for the remainder of this decade, barring any unforeseen major technical problem or emergency situation. Of course, ISS operations also depend upon adequate funding and continued cooperation between the partners, but hopefully we will see possibly 60 resident crews complete their missions and observations on board the ISS by the 20th anniversary of the permanent manning of the complex. It will also require confidence in the ability of the station to continue to support future crews safely and perform its scientific functions properly if operations are to continue into the 2020s. Studies are currently being conducted in order to qualify the main hardware to support ISS operations into 2028, making it a full 30 years since construction began. The work conducted on board the station over the next 15 years or so will presumably be aimed at supporting plans for whatever follows the ISS in low Earth orbit and for missions beyond our planet.

The question of what follows the ISS is an interesting one, as there are no firm plans or suggestions for a follow-on ISS. So can the ISS remain operational and useful for another 20 years without major issues surfacing? It seems doubtful, as there are already signs that the crews’ time is being taken up as much by main­tenance, repair, and housekeeping as with pure science research. It is also difficult to imagine the complex supporting more than a crew of six, or perhaps nine without additional resources added. Of course, increasing crew numbers will add to the challenge, as more people means more power, further supplies, and logistics, requiring more investment probably for limited extra returns. Then there is the question of added waste and unwanted materials to dispose of. All of this would require further spacecraft to support expanded operations, thus increasing the operating costs.

Merely adding crew members to work on more activities does not really solve the problem, unless the working environment can be made less reliant on crew input for keeping the vehicle operating. If this were possible, then more time would be available for the crews to perform science or research, but this is probably a step beyond the current and potential capabilities of the station. It would be more likely to be included in next-generation vehicles, especially those intended for deep-space operations (see below).

It will be interesting to witness the development of new manned space vehicles, such as Orion, as they are tested in low Earth orbit. Their level of auto­mated or manual operations, and the amount of crew input required for the tasks assigned will also be critical for their success. With advances in robotics and joint operations with automated space vehicles, the argument for involving the full par­ticipation of a human crew will be something of a challenge. Even in Earth orbit, a blend of human and automated space operations is useful. Robots can venture where it is dangerous for humans to go, while humans can be on hand to offer rational decision-making choices, repair, and servicing skills to a degree not found on fully automated machines. And can humans ever truly give up the need to explore and “be there”? Looking at Mars through the eyes of a rover may be thrilling in its own way, but it cannot possibly compare with taking those first steps ourselves.

As for other nations’ involvement in human space flight operations, perhaps a truly international program is the way forward, expanding upon the success of the ISS. China is expected to develop its space station program for the rest of this decade and create a viable infrastructure for bolder ventures farther away from Earth. India has also expressed a desire to place its own citizens in orbit, though recent reports have indicated that the supporting technologies required for such a large commitment are not as advanced as originally thought. The first manned domestic Indian flight is still some years in the future, possibly not before 2020. It is also important not to totally ignore comments from Russia about their desire to rekindle their purely national manned space program, though this will of course depend upon sufficient funding commitments.

Another branch of manned operations in Earth orbit are the commercial program, both suborbital and orbital. The forthcoming Virgin Galactic flights in SpaceShipTwo are expected to increase the popularity of short flights to the fringes of space, but not yet into orbit. Since 2009 space tourist flights to the ISS have been suspended due to the increased size of crews on the station, but could be resumed sometime in the near future if hardware and funding become available and the international partners agree to support them. At the time of writing this does not seem likely before 2015 or 2016. Commercially operated space stations are often discussed and the endorsement of privately developed launch and landing systems for ISS support operations are but a step away from developing commercial orbital space operations, perhaps with further moves toward orbital tourist flights.

The idea of factories, large power platforms, and five-star hotels in space may still be a dream of science fiction, but the time will be right when those ideas come to the forefront of space flight, as we are now seeing with commercial launching agreements. One area which will probably be eagerly fought over will be space salvage, the recovery or repair operations to clear up abandoned or failed satellites, opening up the location to new and updated spacecraft. Exciting devel-

A distant Moon beckons future explorers.

opments in low Earth orbit await future space explorers and investors. The head­line glory may come from venturing outwards, but the long-term investment in Earth orbital infrastructure will allow us to look after our own planet, utilizing the huge investments in space exploration to date to improve the quality of life here on the ground.

There are, of course other types of orbits around our planet yet to be investigated by human crews. Often spoken about in tales of science fiction or yet – to-be-achieved space plans these include polar, synchronous, and geostationary orbits and are primary candidates for human expansion in the future.