2011-067A November 14, 2011
Pad 1, Site 5, Baikonur Cosmodrome, Republic of
April 27, 2012
Approximately 56 miles (90 km) northeast of the town of Arkalyk, Republic of Kazakhstan Soyuz-FG (R-7) (serial number И15000-038),
Soyuz TMA (serial number 232)
165 da 7h 31 min 34 s Astra
ISS resident crew transport craft ISS 29/30 (28S)
BURBANK, Daniel Christopher, 50, U. S. Coast Guard (Retd.), NASA Soyuz TMA/ISS-29 flight engineer, ISS-30 commander, third mission Previous missions’. STS-106 (2000), STS-115 (2006)
SHKAPLEROV, Anton Nikolaevich, 39, Russian Federation Air Force, RSA Soyuz TMA commander, ISS-29/30 flight engineer
IVANISHIN, Anatoly Alekseevich, 42, Russian Federation Air Force, RSA Soyuz TMA and ISS-29/30 flight engineer
The delayed launch of TMA-22 finally took place on November 14 through a raging snowstorm, but reached orbit without too much difficulty. When NASA tried to launch Apollo 12 through a thunderstorm exactly 42 years earlier, on November 14, 1969, things were very different. That vehicle was hit by lightning and almost suffered a major systems failure seconds after launch. It was a tense few minutes that convinced the American agency never to launch in the rain again. The Russians do not seem to share the same concerns, so the Soyuz was launched exactly on time for its rendezvous with the Poisk module of ISS, with which it docked on November 16.
Following the leak checks, the hatches were opened to begin a very full four and a half days of briefings and handover operations before the outgoing resident crew came home. In those four days, Burbank took over command of the station from Fossum, who returned to Earth with his TMA-02M colleagues on November 22, ending the ISS-29 expedition and starting the ISS-30 phase. The delays caused by the loss of the Progress in August had shortened the overlap of the two crews.
The first month for the new team was spent settling in to their new home and continuing the science program. The two Russians on this crew were planned to conduct just 28 hours of work in support of the abbreviated ISS-29 phase of science, but 204 hours under the ISS-30 science program in the Russian segment. This amounted to 356 sessions over 46 experiments, including two new investigations. Most of the U. S. segment work in the Destiny, Columbus, and Kibo laboratories was continuations of earlier investigations.
Apart from the science, work continued on Robonaut 2 (or R2). During December 15 and 16 things did not go well, with fault messages regularly appearing in the android’s systems. Further work was delayed until January. For night passes over two days from December 22, Burbank observed and photographed the Comet Lovejoy, which he described as the “most amazing thing he had witnessed,” echoing the sentiments of the Skylab 4 astronauts when they observed Comet Kohoutek 38 years earlier.
The next resident crew arrived in the middle of these observations on December 23, docking at the Rassvet module on the nadir side of Zarya. The hatches opened and the day was spent in briefings, ceremonies, and bringing the newcomers up to speed before the З-day Christmas holiday. The New Year celebrations in orbit actually extended for 24 hours, as the station ventured over the International Date Line 16 times each Earth day. The celebrations were soon followed by Ivanishin’s 43rd birthday on January 15.
The mission progressed with more science, a new arrival in the form of Progress M-14M, more work with R2, and preparations for a planned February EVA from the Russian segment. On January 27 it was announced that the six – person presence on the station would be extended for a while. The next launch of a crew had been delayed until mid-May, as the planned Soyuz vehicle had to be exchanged with the next one in the sequence. This meant that the Burbank crew would not return home until late April and the Kononenko crew would also have to stay a little longer than planned, as their replacements were delayed from May to mid-July.
On February 15, Burbank’s hard work with R2 finally paid off, as the human astronaut shook hands with the robotic one for the first time inside the Destiny module, while NASA proudly announced: “Man meets machine aboard the ISS.” Further tests were planned over the next few weeks, but it was a great start for a machine that was hoped would assist in delicate operations on future spacecraft. The R2 device later used sign language to say: “Hello, world.”
The Russian EVA took place from Pirs on February 16. Kononenko and Shkaplerov relocated the Strela-1 (“Arrow-1”) crane from Pirs to Poisk in preparation for the replacement of the Pirs module with the new Russian Multipurpose Laboratory Module Nauka (“Science”) component. This was planned for later in 2012 but subsequently delayed once again. The two cosmonauts also installed a material science experiment on Poisk, collected organic test samples from Zvezda, and installed five debris shields on the Service Module. The EVA ended after 6 hours 15 minutes.
More celebrations occurred on February 20. Not only was it Shkaplerov’s 40th birthday, it was also the 50th anniversary of the first American orbital flight of John Glenn aboard Friendship-7. Burbank, Pettit, and Kuipers spoke to Glenn from orbit as part of the celebrations of his flight. On March 7, the highly anticipated Robotic Refueling Mission (RRM) began, with several days of external operations using Dextre and Canadarm2 coordinated by the Canadian Space Agency and the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC). This was a demonstration of the potential for robotic complexes to refuel satellites and included opening and closing valves, cutting through wires with millimeters of clearance, removal of insulation, and fuel transfer. The hardware had been delivered to a pallet during STS-135. Canadarm2 and Dextre returned to the Mobile Base System on March 12 at the end of the RRM exercise after about 43 hours of activity. Early results were deemed a success, which bodes well for future developments in this field.
After a 2-week delay in launch due to incorrectly stowed cargo bags, the third Automated Transfer Vehicle (named “Edoardo Amaldi”) was launched on March 23 by Ariane 5 from the Kourou Launch Center in French Guiana, South America. The docking occurred on March 28, with the ATV delivering 7.2 tons of supplies to the station. In the closing phase of the ISS-30 residency, most of the activities focused upon unpacking both the ATV and Progress M-14M. The latter was undocked from the Pirs module on April 19 and was replaced by Progress M-15M three days later.
As their science program wound down, Burbank formally handed over command of the station to Kononenko on April 25. Two days later they undocked from the Poisk module in the final Soyuz TMA spacecraft, followed just over three hours later by what was reported as a “bulls-eye landing”. It was a good way to end an impressive record of TMA missions begun a decade earlier with TMA-1.
Statistically, this expedition was a little unbalanced, although the overall mission logged as much as many others. The delays in launching the mission, caused by the loss of the Progress in August and qualification of the R-7/Soyuz-U and FG vehicles, meant that this crew spent only 6 days as formal members of the ISS-29 expedition, but 155 days as prime ISS-30 crew. In their 165-day flight, 163 days were spent aboard the station.
285th manned space ffight 117th Russian manned space flight 110th manned Soyuz 28th ISS Soyuz mission (28S)
22nd and final Soyuz TMA flight 29/30th ISS resident crew First post-Shuttle era ISS mission
Shortest ISS expedition residency (6 days on the ISS-29 phase by this trio) Ivanishin celebrates his 43rd birthday (January 15)
Shkaplerov celebrates his 40th birthday (February 20)