2357 GMT (7:57 p.m. EDT)
Now 82 feet and closing. The capsule remains on course and lined up for docking.
2356 GMT (7:56 p.m. EDT)
Soyuz has closed to within 100 feet from the station.
2356 GMT (7:56 p.m. EDT)
The docking mechanism on Soyuz has been powered up.
2355 GMT (7:55 p.m. EDT)
Closing speed is throttling back as expect. Now 150 feet left to go.
2354 GMT (7:54 p.m. EDT)
Now less than 250 feet to docking.
2353 GMT (7:53 p.m. EDT)
The range between Soyuz and station is about 345 feet.
2351 GMT (7:51 p.m. EDT)
With approval granted by the Russian flight control team, the Soyuz capsule has commenced final approach toward docking.
2349 GMT (7:49 p.m. EDT)
About two minutes left in the planned stationkeeping. The capsule has drifted inward to about 610 feet.
2346 GMT (7:46 p.m. EDT)
The Soyuz completed the flyaround to align with the docking port. It's now in the stationkeeping hold about 650 feet away while controllers verify all is in readiness for final approach.
2344 GMT (7:44 p.m. EDT)
The capsule is completing a roll maneuver as part of the sequence to prepare for docking. Soyuz is about 675 feet away from the station now.
2340 GMT (7:40 p.m. EDT)
A black and white video camera on the Soyuz is providing great footage of the space station during this maneuver. The distance has been cut to 750 feet.
2338 GMT (7:38 p.m. EDT)
Soyuz is within 1,000 feet of the station as the flyaround continues.
2337 GMT (7:37 p.m. EDT)
At present, the Soyuz and station are orbiting over the western Pacific. The docking is set to occur over the extreme southeastern Pacific, just off the coast of Chile.
2336 GMT (7:36 p.m. EDT)
Soyuz is flying itself around the international outpost to get into the approach corridor leading to the Poisk module's docking port.
2332 GMT (7:32 p.m. EDT)
The Soyuz TMA-01M capsule is nearing the International Space Station for docking at 8:02 p.m. EDT. The rendezvous sequence is progressing as planned this evening, Mission Control reports.
2315 GMT (7:15 p.m. EDT)
The Soyuz spacecraft is nearing the space station for docking about 45 minutes from now at 8:02 p.m. EDT. You can watch live NASA Television coverage on the right-hand column of this page.
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 8, 2010
The Soyuz spacecraft carrying three new residents for the space station is scheduled for docking Saturday evening at 8:02 p.m. EDT (0002 GMT).
The automated rendezvous sequence aboard the Russian-built crew transport capsule will begin about 5:42 p.m. EDT to control the activities via autopilot.
The day's first key engine firing is planned for 5:59 p.m. and another impulse is expected around 5:21 p.m. EDT, followed within minutes by activation of the Kurs rendezvous equipment on both the Soyuz and space station to guide the linkup.
The two spacecraft should be within 60 miles of each other by 6:45 p.m., closing to less than 10 miles by 7:10 p.m.
The television camera on the nose of Soyuz will be turned on at 7:17 p.m. to provide views of the docking.
A series of maneuvers between 7:25 and 7:33 p.m. will dramatically slow the Soyuz's closure rate, ultimately leading to the spacecraft beginning a flyaround of the space station to align with the Poisk module's docking port.
After a stationkeeping hold by the Soyuz to ensure all is in readiness for docking, the spacecraft will commence final approach at 7:51 p.m. for docking about 11 minutes later. Soyuz commander Alexander Kaleri will be standing by to take over manual flying of the spacecraft if required.
The linkup should occur at 8:02 p.m. EDT, shortly before an orbital sunset and two days, 51 minutes after liftoff.
The hatch opening and welcoming ceremony aboard the station is expected around 11 p.m. EDT.
2329 GMT (7:29 p.m. EDT)
The crew has been given permission from Mission Control-Moscow to open its helmet visors and loosen the shoulder restraints.
2325 GMT (7:25 p.m. EDT)
"We are feeling good," Kaleri reports, as the crew marches through the post-insertion orbital checklist.
2324 GMT (7:24 p.m. EDT)
Kelly, Kaleri and Skripochka have arrived in orbit following launch aboard the Soyuz TMA-01M spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome.
Activities upcoming over the next few hours include opening the hatchway into the capsule's living compartment where the crew can remove their spacesuits, pressurization of the Soyuz propellant tanks and two orbit adjustment maneuvers.
That pair of maneuvers later tonight will be followed by another one Friday to put Soyuz on the proper trajectory for Saturday's rendezvous and docking with the space station.
2322 GMT (7:22 p.m. EDT)
The craft is completing a programmed sequence to deploy the power-generating solar arrays, as well as antennas for navigational and communication systems.
2320 GMT (7:20 p.m. EDT)
CAPSULE SEPARATION! The Soyuz spacecraft is flying free after the upper stage finished its engine firing and then separated away. The capsule is in pursuit of the International Space Station for a planned docking around 8:02 p.m. EDT on Saturday.
2319:40 GMT (7:19:40 p.m. EDT)
T+plus 8 minutes, 45 seconds. The crew reports all remains normal aboard the spacecraft.
2318:55 GMT (7:18:55 p.m. EDT)
T+plus 8 minutes. About a minute remains in the propulsion by the upper stage. The motor consumes kerosene and liquid oxygen just like the Soyuz rocket's other powerplants.
2317:55 GMT (7:17:55 p.m. EDT)
T+plus 7 minutes. The four-nozzle engine of the upper stage continues to burn to inject the spacecraft into orbit.
2317:25 GMT (7:17:25 p.m. EDT)
T+plus 6 minutes, 30 seconds. The space station's current residents -- Doug Wheelock, Shannon Walker and Fyodor Yurchikhin -- are watching a live stream of the launch being uplinked to the outpost.
2316:55 GMT (7:16:55 p.m. EDT)
T+plus 6 minutes. Soyuz's upper stage is firing to propel the spacecraft into a stable orbit around Earth.
2316:40 GMT (7:16:40 p.m. EDT)
T+plus 5 minutes, 45 seconds. Good third stage burn with no vibrations being felt by the crew, Kaleri says.
2315:55 GMT (7:15:55 p.m. EDT)
T+plus 5 minutes. The core stage of the Soyuz rocket has shut down and separated, leaving the upper stage to complete the job of injecting the Soyuz capsule into orbit.
2315:40 GMT (7:15:40 p.m. EDT)
T+plus 4 minutes, 45 seconds. Pitch, yaw and roll now reported nominal. The crew reports the G-forces are rising.
2314:55 GMT (7:14:55 p.m. EDT)
T+plus 4 minutes. The core motor continues to fire on its propellant mixture of kerosene fuel and supercold liquid oxygen.
2313:55 GMT (7:13:55 p.m. EDT)
T+plus 3 minutes. The safety escape tower and launch shroud have been jettisoned from the atop the Soyuz capsule.
2313:10 GMT (7:13:10 p.m. EDT)
T+plus 2 minutes, 15 seconds. The four strap-on boosters clustered around the Soyuz rocket's main stage have burned out and separated. The core motor continues to fire.
2311:55 GMT (7:11:55 p.m. EDT)
T+plus 60 seconds. Good performance one minute into this ascent for the Soyuz rocket and its three-person crew from the Kazakh launch base. Flight engineer Oleg Skripochka is strapped into the left-hand seat, Alexander Kaleri is in the center seat for his role as the Soyuz commander and NASA astronaut Scott Kelly is in the right-hand seat.
2311 GMT (7:11 p.m. EDT)
T+plus 45 seconds. The Soyuz is heading on course for a rendezvous with the space station 49 hours from now. The station currently is flying about 225 miles above the extreme southern Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of Argentina.
2311 GMT (7:11 p.m. EDT)
"We feel great. Everything is in order onboard," Kaleri reports.
2310:55 GMT (7:10:55 p.m. EDT)
LIFTOFF! Liftoff of the maiden flight of the digital Soyuz, an upgraded spacecraft for transporting crews to the International Space Station!
2310:20 GMT (7:10:20 p.m. EDT)
T-minus 35 seconds. The first umbilical arm has separated from Soyuz. The second will retract in the next few seconds.
2309:55 GMT (7:09:55 p.m. EDT)
T-minus 1 minute and counting. The Soyuz has been placed on internal power.
2308:55 GMT (7:08:55 p.m. EDT)
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 the launch vehicle have been closed.
2307:55 GMT (7:07:55 p.m. EDT)
T-minus 3 minutes and counting. The nitrogen purge of the combustion chambers of side and central engine pods of the rocket is being performed in preparation for ignition.
2306:55 GMT (7:06:55 p.m. EDT)
T-minus 4 minutes. The launch key has been inserted in the bunker for liftoff.
2305:55 GMT (7:05:55 p.m. EDT)
T-minus 5 minutes and counting. Systems of the Soyuz have switched to onboard control, the ground measurement system and the Soyuz commander's controls are being activated.
2304:55 GMT (7:04:55 p.m. EDT)
T-minus 6 minutes. The automatic program for final launch operations is being initiated.
2303:55 GMT (7:03:55 p.m. EDT)
T-minus 7 minutes and counting. The crew has closed its helmet visors.
2300:55 GMT (7:00:55 p.m. EDT)
T-minus 10 minutes. The crew inside the Soyuz capsule are starting recorders to collect data during launch.
2258 GMT (6:58 p.m. EDT)
T-minus 12 minutes and counting. The Soyuz telemetry systems are being activated. They will relay real-time data back to Earth during today's launch.
2253 GMT (6:53 p.m. EDT)
T-minus 17 minutes. Now in the launch count, realignment of the Soyuz rocket's trajectory control system and checks of internal batteries should be complete. The Soyuz telemetry system will soon be activated and monitoring of Soyuz's thermal control system also will begin.
2250 GMT (6:50 p.m. EDT)
T-minus 20 minutes and counting. Recent activities scheduled in the countdown have included a leak check of the crew's Sokol spacesuits and arming of the Soyuz emergency escape system that would pull the capsule to safety if a problem develops.
2245 GMT (6:45 p.m. EDT)
T-minus 25 minutes. Retraction of the two-piece service structure that has enclosed the Soyuz rocket during its stay at the launch pad is occurring as the towers rotate to a horizontal position. Several other umbilical arms connecting the rocket to the ground will be retracted at various times later in the countdown.
2237 GMT (6:37 p.m. EDT)
The onboard video camera shows capsule commander Alexander Kaleri climbing out of his seat and reaching for something above him. Not sure if there's a problem or what the cosmonaut is trying to do.
2230 GMT (6:30 p.m. EDT)
For Scott Kelly, his role aboard the Soyuz capsule is far different than his previous job as space shuttle commander. He'll just be along for the ride instead of actively flying the vehicle.
"Well, I'll certainly have a lot less to do during that time in the Soyuz than on a shuttle ascent or entry for that matter. As the flight engineer No. 2 you're sort of a passenger. You do have some responsibilities but it's kind of like being somewhere between mission specialist No. 1 on the shuttle and sitting on the mid-deck, your role. In that regard it will be different. It's kind of neat that it's a rocket, like a traditional rocket, so it'll be good to have that experience especially as we move on to a new vehicle after the space shuttle program."
2225 GMT (6:25 p.m. EDT)
Scott Kelly, 46, flew as a space shuttle pilot to service the Hubble Space Telescope in 1999 and the commander of a construction mission to the International Space Station in 2007
. The Navy captain, a native of Orange, New Jersey, will serve as the station's flight engineer until late November, then become commander when Expedition 26 begins.
Read his full bio.
2220 GMT (6:20 p.m. EDT)
Alexander Kaleri, 54, is a seasoned spaceflight veteran with four previous treks and 610 days in space to his credit. Born in Latvia and a graduate of the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, the cosmonaut worked aboard the Russian space station Mir during missions in 1992, 1996-1997 and 2000, including the final manned mission to the outpost, and spent 195 days aboard the International Space Station in 2003-2004 for Expedition 8. He will serve as commander of the Soyuz TMA-01M's debut flight during Expedition 25.
Read his full bio.
2210 GMT (6:10 p.m. EDT)
Flight engineer Oleg Skripochka, 41, attended a young cosmonauts school and later a technical university to earn a mechanical engineering degree. The avid skydiver worked for the Russian aerospace firm Energia before being selected as a cosmonaut. This will be his first spaceflight.
Read his full bio.
2140 GMT (5:40 p.m. EDT)
T-minus 90 minutes. The Soyuz rocket is fueled, the crew is aboard the Soyuz and the countdown is progressing toward liftoff of the space station's Expedition 25 crew from the Baikonur Cosmodrome.
2130 GMT (5:30 p.m. EDT)
Video highlights of the Soyuz crew's launch day activities are beginning to air in the streaming video.
2050 GMT (4:50 p.m. EDT)
Crowds of well-wishers gathered to wave goodbye as the crew as Kelly, Kaleri and Skripochka reached the launch pad. An elevator took the trio up to the capsule-level of the tower to begin climbing aboard the cramped spacecraft.
2020 GMT (4:20 p.m. EDT)
The three-man crew donned the white Sokol launch and entry suits, met with officials from their respective space agencies and have departed for the launch pad in the predawn darkness at Baikonur Cosmodrome.
1745 GMT (1:45 p.m. EDT)
American astronaut Scott Kelly and Russian cosmonauts Alexander Kaleri and Oleg Skripochka were awakened a few hours ago to begin launch day activities. They have undergo medical tests, had a pre-launch meal, signed the doors at crew quarters and received religious blessings before boarding a bus that's currently driving the three crewmates the 25-mile distance into the cosmodrome.
Watch this page for continuing updates and a live launch webcast.
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1630 GMT (12:30 p.m. EDT)
Russian engineers readied an upgraded Soyuz TMA-01M spacecraft for launch Thursday evening from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to ferry a veteran shuttle commander and two cosmonauts to the International Space Station. If all goes well, the trio will join the two-man one-woman Expedition 25 crew aboard the lab complex late Saturday, boosting the station's crew back to six.
NASA astronaut Scott Kelly, Soyuz commander Alexander Kaleri and flight engineer Oleg Skripochka are scheduled for launch at 7:10:55 p.m. EDT (2310:55 GMT) from the same pad used to launch the first Sputnik on Oct. 4, 1957, and Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space, on April 12, 1961.
"The crew is ready for flight and I would like to thank everyone that created this vehicle and made sure it is ready for flight," Kaleri said at a pre-launch news conference Wednesday. "We're going to do our best and fulfill your expectations and your trust."
If all goes well, Kaleri will oversee an automated docking at the upward-facing port of the Russian Poisk compartment atop the station's Zvezda command module at 8:02 p.m. Saturday (0002 GMT Sunday).
Read our preview story.