BY JUSTIN RAY
Follow the Expedition 10 crew's launch to the International Space Station aboard the Russian Soyuz TMA-5 spacecraft. Reload this page for the latest.
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SOYUZ DOCKS TO SPACE STATION IN MANUAL MODE QT
LONGER-LENGTH CLIP OF THE APPROACH AND DOCKING QT
POST-DOCKING PRESS CONFERENCE FROM RUSSIA QT
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 16, 2004
Cosmonaut Salizhan Sharipov grabbed manual control of the Soyuz spacecraft during the final minutes of today's rendezvous with the International Space Station, overriding the autopilot that was supposed to guide the capsule throughout the approach and docking. Read our full story.
0714 GMT (3:14 a.m. EDT)
All five crew members have been united inside the International Space Station. They are taking VIP calls from officials watching in the Russian control center.
0714 GMT (3:14 a.m. EDT)
The hatches have been opened and the crews are preparing for the welcoming ceremony aboard the space station as Expedition 10 arrives for its 191-day tour-of-duty,
0440 GMT (12:40 a.m. EDT)
Russian space officials are telling the post-docking press conference that the Soyuz's velocity was higher than expected as it moved toward the station. That prompted the autopilot to be turned off, giving manual control to the crew inside the capsule to fly the final approach and docking. The Soyuz linked up with the station successfully.
0428 GMT (12:28 a.m. EDT)
Hooks and latches are engaged to create the hard-mate of Soyuz to the docking compartment.
There is still no immediate word on what problem with the KURS automated rendezvous system prompted the manual takeover of docking.
0418 GMT (12:18 a.m. EDT)
After the hooks and latches engage to form a firm seal between Soyuz and the station, a long series of pressure and leak checks will be performed. Opening of hatches between the two craft is expected about three hours from now.
0415 GMT (12:15 a.m. EDT)
DOCKING. Contact and capture reported as the Soyuz TMA-5 capsule docks to the International Space Station to deliver the Expedition 10 crew for a six-month mission. The docking was performed under manual control by cosmonaut Salizhan Sharipov after the Soyuz's automated rendezvous system experienced some sort of glitch.
0413 GMT (12:13 a.m. EDT)
Range now 15 meters. Docking will occur a few minutes ahead of schedule.
0412 GMT (12:12 a.m. EDT)
Less than 20 meters separate the capsule and the station docking port.
0411 GMT (12:11 a.m. EDT)
Russian flight controllers are assuring Salizhan Sharipov that everything is fine as the cosmonaut flies the Soyuz to docking.
0410 GMT (12:10 a.m. EDT)
The Soyuz is slowly moving toward the Pirs docking module. Docking is expected about seven or eight minutes from now.
0408 GMT (12:08 a.m. EDT)
The two spacecraft are beginning to enter orbital sunrise. Soyuz remains in manual control after the crew switched off the autopilot that would normally control the rendezvous and docking.
0405 GMT (12:05 a.m. EDT)
The KURS automated docking system on the Soyuz has experienced a problem. Mission control in Moscow has directed Soyuz commander Salizhan Sharipov to take manual control for the final approach and docking. This is something for which the rookie Soyuz flier has trained extensively.
0401 GMT (12:01 a.m. EDT)
Soyuz has begun a holding pattern directly beneath the Pirs docking port. The craft will wait here until orbital sunrise and the entry into Russian ground station coverage a few minutes from now. Then the final approach approach to docking will start.
0357 GMT (11:57 p.m. EDT Fri.)
The capsule is inside 400 meters to the station.
0355 GMT (11:55 p.m. EDT Fri.)
Soyuz is performing a flyaround maneuver of station that takes the capsule from directly behind the outpost to a position below the Pirs docking module.
0347 GMT (11:47 p.m. EDT Fri.)
Cameras aboard the space station have spotted the Soyuz as the two craft fly in orbital darkness. The capsule is about 3,000 from the station and closing at a rate of 9 meters per second. A series of braking maneuvers will occur during the final rendezvous.
0338 GMT (11:38 p.m. EDT Fri.)
The Soyuz crew just told mission controllers in Moscow that the space station appears as a tiny dot as the capsule slowly moves closer toward docking about 40 minutes from now. No problems are being reported by Russian or NASA flight controllers as the rendezvous operations continue tonight.
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 15, 2004
The Soyuz capsule ferrying the next crew to the International Space Station is on course for its docking at 12:17 a.m. EDT (0417 GMT) Saturday. About three hours later, hatches between two spacecraft will be opened as Expedition 10 moves into their orbital home for the start of a six-month stay.
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 14, 2004
0500 GMT (1:00 a.m. EDT)
Riding a venerable Russian Soyuz rocket off the desert steppes of Kazakhstan, the next residents of the International Space Station safely departed planet Earth tonight for their six-month voyage in orbit. Read our launch story.
Additional coverage for subscribers:
CREW PARTICIPATES IN LAUNCH MORNING TRADITIONS QT
LAUNCH SPACESUITS ARE CHECKED OUT QT
VIP DELEGATION TALKS TO CREW QT
CREW DEPARTS SUITUP BUILDING FOR RIDE TO PAD QT
LARGE CROWD WELCOMES CREW AT LAUNCH PAD QT
SERVICE TOWERS ARE RETRACTED FROM AROUND ROCKET QT
THE SOYUZ ROCKET BLASTS OFF WITH EXPEDITION 10 QT
FULL-LENGTH MOVIE OF EXPEDITION 10 LAUNCH INTO ORBIT QT
POST-LAUNCH INTERVIEW WITH FRED GREGORY QT
POST-LAUNCH INTERVIEW WITH MICHAEL KOSTELNIK QT
POST-LAUNCH INTERVIEW WITH KENT ROMINGER QT
RUSSIAN STATE COMMISSION GIVES LAUNCH APPROVAL QT
CREW HOLDS FINAL PRE-LAUNCH NEWS CONFERENCE QT
NARRATED OVERVIEW OF EXPEDITION 10 GOALS QT
BIOGRAPHIES OF CHIAO AND SHARIPOV QT
0318 GMT (11:18 p.m. EDT Wed.)
It appears to have been a smooth launch of Expedition 10 today with no problems reported.
0315 GMT (11:15 p.m. EDT Wed.)
T+plus 8 minutes, 57 seconds. CAPSULE SEPARATION! The Soyuz spacecraft is flying free after separation from the spent third stage for the journey to the International Space Station.
0315 GMT (11:15 p.m. EDT Wed.)
T+plus 8 minutes, 55 seconds. The third stage engine cutoff has occurred.
0314 GMT (11:14 p.m. EDT Wed.)
T+plus 8 minutes. Third stage burn continues normally. Vehicle systems are operating as expected. The crew members says they are feeling fine.
0312 GMT (11:12 p.m. EDT Wed.)
T+plus 6 minutes, 40 seconds. Mission control reports the Soyuz is 120 miles in altitude, 580 miles downrange and traveling at 11,200 mph.
0312 GMT (11:12 p.m. EDT Wed.)
T+plus 6 minutes, 20 seconds. Mission control reports that roll, yaw and pitch is normal as the third stage continues to fire.
0311 GMT (11:11 p.m. EDT Wed.)
T+plus 5 minutes, 30 seconds. The second stage of the Soyuz rocket has shut down and separated. The third stage will complete the job of injecting the Soyuz capsule into Earth orbit.
0310 GMT (11:10 p.m. EDT Wed.)
T+plus 4 minutes, 30 seconds. The second stage continue to fire.
0309 GMT (11:09 p.m. EDT Wed.)
T+plus 3 minutes, 30 seconds. Mission control reports the Soyuz is 66 miles in altitude, 72 miles downrange and traveling at 6,000 mph.
0309 GMT (11:09 p.m. EDT Wed.)
T+plus 2 minutes, 50 seconds. The safety escape tower and launch shroud have been jettisoned from the atop the Soyuz capsule.
0308 GMT (11:08 p.m. EDT Wed.)
T+plus 2 minutes, 15 seconds. The four strap-on boosters of the first stage have separated as planned. The second stage core stage continues to fire.
0307:26 GMT (11:07:26 p.m. EDT Wed.)
T+plus 60 seconds. Soyuz is traveling 600 miles per hour.
0306 GMT (11:06 p.m. EDT Wed.)
T+plus 30 seconds. The launcher is maneuvering to the proper heading for its ascent to orbit, kicking off the two-day trek to the space station. The orbital laboratory complex is currently 230 miles above Earth, flying over west-central Africa.
0306:26 GMT (11:06:26 p.m. EDT Wed.)
LIFTOFF! Liftoff of the Russian Soyuz spacecraft and the International Space Station's Expedition 10 crew for the continued human presence in space!
0305 GMT (11:05 p.m. EDT Wed.)
T-minus 40 seconds. The first umbilical arm has separated from Soyuz. The second will retract in the next few seconds.
0305:26 GMT (11:05:26 p.m. EDT Wed.)
T-minus 1 minute and counting. Launch sequence start.
0304 GMT (11:04 p.m. EDT Wed.)
T-minus 2 minutes and counting. Rocket propellant tank pressurization is underway. The vehicle's onboard measurement system is activated. Oxidizer and fuel drain and safety valves of launch vehicle have been closed.
0303 GMT (11:03 p.m. EDT Wed.)
T-minus 3 minutes and counting. The nitrogen purge of the combustion chambers of side and central engine pods of the rocket has started.
0302 GMT (11:02 p.m. EDT Wed.)
T-minus 4 minutes and counting. The range at Baikonur is verified clear for launch. The launch key has been inserted in the bunker for liftoff.
0301 GMT (11:01 p.m. EDT Wed.)
T-minus 5 minutes and counting. Systems of the Soyuz have switched to onboard control, the ground measurement system and Soyuz commander Salizhan Sharipov's controls are being activated. Also, the crew has switched to suit air by closing their helmets.
0300 GMT (11:00 p.m. EDT Wed.)
T-minus 6 minutes and counting. The automatic program for final launch operations is being activated.
0256 GMT (10:56 p.m. EDT Wed.)
T-minus 10 minutes and counting. The crew inside the Soyuz capsule are activating recorders to collect data during launch.
0252 GMT (10:52 p.m. EDT Wed.)
T-minus 14 minutes and counting. The Soyuz telemetry systems are being activated. They will relay real-time data back to Earth during today's launch.
0249 GMT (10:49 p.m. EDT Wed.)
T-minus 17 minutes and counting. Realignment of the Soyuz rocket's trajectory control system has been completed and checks of internal batteries have been performed. The Soyuz telemetry system will soon be activated and monitoring of Soyuz's thermal control system also will begin.
0241 GMT (10:41 p.m. EDT Wed.)
T-minus 25 minutes and counting. Launch of the Soyuz rocket remains slated to occur at 0306 GMT.
Within nine minutes of liftoff, the three-stage rocket will deploy the Soyuz TMA-4 capsule into a 143 by 118 mile orbit inclined 51.6 degrees to the equator, NASA says.
Over the next two days, the craft will perform a series of maneuvers to reach the International Space Station for docking Friday night/Saturday morning U.S. time.
0236 GMT (10:36 p.m. EDT Wed.)
T-minus 30 minutes and counting. The emergency escape system is being armed. The system would be employed if a major malfunction occurs, propelling the Soyuz capsule off the top of the rocket to safety.
0228 GMT (10:28 p.m. EDT Wed.)
The two-piece service structure that has enclosed the Soyuz rocket at the launch pad during its stay is being retracted. The towers are rotating to a horizontal position. Several other umbilical arms connecting the rocket to the ground will be retracted at various times later in the countdown.
Meanwhile, leak checks of the crew's launch and entry spacesuits are scheduled to be underway at this time.
0216 GMT (10:16 p.m. EDT Wed.)
T-minus 50 minutes and counting. Clocks continue to count down for launch of the Expedition 10 crew. NASA officials are not reporting any problems preventing liftoff this evening as planned.
The sun is beginning to rise over the launch site in Central Asia where skies are mostly clear and temperatures are in the mid-30s F.
0145 GMT (9:45 p.m. EDT Wed.)
Dressed in their spacesuits, the crew members have boarded the Soyuz TMA-5 spacecraft at the Baikonur Cosmodrome as the countdown continues for tonight's launch to the International Space Station. The rocket is fueled and liftoff remains scheduled for 0306 GMT.
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 13, 2004
Here is an overview the key events in the countdown, as provided by NASA:
- T- 6:00:00 Batteries are installed in the booster
- T- 5:30:00 State commission gives "go" to take launch vehicle
- T- 5:15:00 Crew arrives at site 254
- T- 5:00:00 Tanking begins
- T- 4:20:00 Spacesuit donning
- T- 4:00:00 Booster is loaded with liquid oxygen
- T- 3:40:00 Crew meets delegations
- T- 3:10:00 Reports to the State commission
- T- 3:05:00 Transfer to the launch pad
- T- 3:00:00 Vehicle first and second stage oxidizer fueling complete
- T- 2:35:00 Crew arrives at launch vehicle
- T- 2:30:00 Crew ingress through orbital module side hatch
- T- 2:00:00 Crew in re-entry vehicle
- T- 1:45:00 Re-entry vehicle hardware tested; suits are ventilated
- T- 1:30:00 Launch command monitoring and supply unit prepared;
-- Orbital compartment hatch tested for sealing
- T- 1:00:00 Launch vehicle control system prepared for use; gyro instruments activated
- T - :45:00 Launch pad service structure halves are lowered
- T- :40:00 Re-entry vehicle hardware testing complete; leak checks performed on suits
- T- :30:00 Emergency escape system armed; launch command supply unit activated
- T- :25:00 Service towers withdrawn
- T- :15:00 Suit leak tests complete; crew engages personal escape hardware auto mode
- T- :10:00 Launch gyro instruments uncaged; crew activates on-board recorders
- T- 7:00 All prelaunch operations are complete
- T- 6:15 Key to launch command given at the launch site;
-- Automatic program of final launch operations is activated
- T- 6:00 All launch complex and vehicle systems ready for launch
- T- 5:00 Onboard systems switched to onboard control;
-- Ground measurement system activated by RUN 1 command;
-- Commander's controls activated;
-- Crew switches to suit air by closing helmets;
-- Launch key inserted in launch bunker
- T- 3:15 Combustion chambers of side and central engine pods purged with nitrogen
- T- 2:30 Booster propellant tank pressurization starts;
-- Onboard measurement system activated by RUN 2 command;
-- Prelaunch pressurization of all tanks with nitrogen begins
- T- 2:15 Oxidizer and fuel drain and safety valves of launch vehicle are closed;
-- Ground filling of oxidizer and nitrogen to the launch vehicle is terminated
- T- 1:00 Vehicle on internal power;
-- Automatic sequencer on;
-- First umbilical tower separates from booster
- T- :40 Ground power supply umbilical to third stage is disconnected
- T- :20 Launch command given at the launch position;
-- Central and side pod engines are turned on
- T- :15 Second umbilical tower separates from booster
- T- :10 Engine turbopumps at flight speed
- T- :05 First stage engines at maximum thrust
- T- :00 Fueling tower separates;
-- Lift off
1600 GMT (12:00 p.m. EDT)
The three men who will launch aboard the Soyuz spacecraft tonight -- Leroy Chiao, Salizhan Sharipov and Yuri Shargin -- are currently asleep. They will be awakened a couple of hours from now to begin their launch day routine.
NASA public affairs officer Rob Navias gave this report from Baikonur this morning:
"After receiving final clearance for the launch earlier today from top Russian space officials, the crew's schedule calls for its arrival at Site 254 shortly after 4 p.m. Central Time (5 p.m. EDT; 2100 GMT) to begin suitup operations. They will then be bused to the launch pad around 7:30 p.m. CDT (8:30 p.m. EDT; 0030 GMT) to climb aboard their Syuz TMA-5 vehicle to be strapped in for launch.
"The spacecraft will be fueled for the launch at the time the crew boards the Soyuz with Chiao in the left seat as ascent flight engineer, Sharipov in the center seat as commander and Shargin in the right seat as flight engineer No. 2.
"The three-stage Soyuz is set to lift off at 10:06:26 p.m. Central Time (11:06:26 p.m. EDT; 0306:26 GMT) for a nine-minute ride into space. Once the Soyuz has separated from its third stage into its preliminary orbit, computer commands will unfurl its power-producing solar arrays, and its navigational antennas and forward docking mechanism will be deployed."
"Over the next two days, pre-programmed engine firings will fine-tune the path of Soyuz for its link up with the Pirs docking compartment of the station Friday night at 11:25 p.m. Central Time (12:25 a.m. EDT; 0425 GMT). That will begin eight days of handover activities by Chiao and Sharipov with the Expedition 9 crew of Gennady Padalka and Mike Fincke.
"There will also be additional maintenance work by Chiao and Fincke on a U.S. spacesuit aboard the station and additional repair work by Sharipov and Padalka on the Elektron oxygen generator using spare parts being carried into space on the Soyuz."
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 12, 2004
With Expedition 10's Soyuz rocket standing on the same pad where human spaceflight began with Yuri Gagarin's blastoff 43 years ago, final pre-flight activities are underway for Wednesday night's launch.
Liftoff from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan is scheduled for 0306 GMT (11:06 p.m. EDT). The Russian rocket will need about nine minutes to boost the Soyuz TMA-5 capsule into orbit. See our detailed launch-to-docking timeline.
NASA public affairs officer Rob Navias has traveled to Baikonur for the launch and radioed this report Tuesday after the rocket was rolled to the pad:
"Following an historic tradition spanning more than four decades, a railcar rolled out of a cavernous hangar at precisely 7 o'clock this morning as the first glimmer of light appeared over the barren central Asian desert here in Kazakhstan. Atop that railcar: the spacecraft that will carry the Expedition 10 crew and a guest cosmonaut to the International Space Station.
"Lying horizontally on the railcar, the Soyuz TMA-5 spacecraft and its booster rocket began a two-hour trip to its launch pad at Site 254 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome as its crew -- American commander Leroy Chiao, Russian flight engineer and Soyuz commander Salizhan Sharipov and Russian Space Forces cosmonaut Yuri Shargin -- completed final pre-launch preparations and relaxed at their crew quarters.
"Once it reached the pad, the Soyuz vehicle was lifted to its vertical position by hydraulics on the railcar and locked in place. Technicians then clamored around the Soyuz at various levels of the 170-foot long rocket hooking up electrical connections and fuel lines as giant gantry swing arms closed around it. The Soyuz now sits on the same pad used for every human launch in Russian spaceflight history -- a monument, if you will, to piloted spaceflight."
This launch was postponed twice by technical issues, pushing back target liftoff dates on Oct. 9 and Oct. 11.
"The first was a pyro issue on the docking mechanism," said Mark Geyer, NASA's station manager for integration and operations. "During ground testing, one of the pyros actually did fire. (The Russians) determined it was an issue with their ground test equipment and they've subsequently repaired the mechanism and reinstalled it.
"We did talk to them a great deal about how that was tied to the testing itself and why we had no concerns for the on-orbit vehicle. And we all agreed we had no concerns for on-orbit.
"The second issue was a very small leak in their hydrogen peroxide propulsion system that is used for the descent engines. As part of their normal checks, they had a small leak. They have gone back and actually replaced the entire system.
"They determined the leak was caused by, again, a testing procedure error where they over-pressurized the bellows in the system. They've done separate tests on the ground where they recreated the problems. So they are confident they have identified the issue."
We will provide live updates during Wednesday night's launch. Watch this page for the latest!
Additional coverage for subscribers:
TECHNICIANS COMPLETE FINAL ASSEMBLY OF SOYUZ ROCKET QT
TUESDAY'S SUNRISE TRANSPORT OF SOYUZ TO LAUNCH PAD QT
THE ROCKET IS HOISTED VERTICALLY ON THE PAD QT
POST-ROLLOUT INTERVIEW WITH NASA MANAGER QT
FINAL INSPECTION OF SOYUZ CAPSULE BY CREW QT
CREW TOURS THE SOYUZ ROCKET'S LAUNCH PAD QT
CHIAO INTERVIEW AFTER CAPSULE CHECK, PAD VISIT QT
EXPEDITION 10 PREVIEW NEWS CONFERENCE QT
CREW PRE-FLIGHT NEWS CONFERENCE IN STAR CITY QT