MIR: Expedition 20
|Given names:||Yuri Pavlovich||Sergei Vasiliyevich||Thomas Arthur|
|Position:||Commander||Flight Engineer||Flight Engineer|
|Spacecraft (Launch):||Soyuz TM-22||Soyuz TM-22||Soyuz TM-22|
|Launchtime:||09:00 UTC||09:00 UTC||09:00 UTC|
|Spacecraft (Landing):||Soyuz TM-22||Soyuz TM-22||Soyuz TM-22|
|Landingtime:||10:42 UTC||10:42 UTC||10:42 UTC|
|Mission duration:||179d 01h 41m||179d 01h 41m||179d 01h 41m|
|Given names:||Gennadi Mikhailovich||Pavel Vladimirovich||Arne Christer|
|Position:||Commander||Flight Engineer||Flight Engineer|
Launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome; landing 105 km northeast of Arkalyk.
This was the mission "EUROMIR 95". Soyuz TM-22 with the MIR-20 crew was launched from Baikonur on September 03, 1995 at 09:00 UTC. Soyuz TM-22 carried the relief crew to the MIR station together with the ESA astronaut, the German, Thomas Reiter. The Russian crew consisted of the MIR Commander Yuri Gidzenko, who made his first spaceflight, and Flight Engineer Sergei Avdeyev, who already made 1 spaceflight.
Following a two day solo flight Soyuz TM-22 docked with the MIR space station on September 05, 1995. Soyuz TM-22 docked with MIR's front (-X) port at 10:29:54 UTC and the hatch was opened at 11:01:23 UTC.
The crew became the 20th MIR resident crew. During the next months joint Russian-German research work was performed.
Soyuz TM-21 landed on September 11, 1995 at 06:52 UTC with the crew of Nikolai Budarin and Anatoli Soloviyov aboard.
Progress M-29, an unmanned resupply vessel to MIR, was launched on October 08, 1995 at 18:50 UTC into an initial 194 x 242 km x 51.7 deg orbit. It docked with MIR's rear of the Kvant module port on October 10, 1995 at 20:32:40 UTC (Soyuz TM-22 was docked to the front port), undocked on December 19, 1995 at 09:15:05 UTC and was destroyed in reentry on December 19, 1995 at 16:15:00 UTC.
The first EVA was performed by Sergei Avdeyev and Thomas Reiter (first German performing a spacewalk) on October 20, 1995 (5h 16m). The spacewalkers installed sample cassettes in ESEF (European Science Exposure Facility).
On November 15, 1995 Space Shuttle STS-74 docked with MIR space station.
STS-74 was a Space Shuttle Atlantis mission to the MIR space station. It was the fourth mission of the US/Russian Shuttle-MIR Program, and it carried out the second docking of a space shuttle to MIR. The mission delivered the Russian-built MIR Docking Module to the station along with a pair of solar arrays, and was the second in a series of seven straight missions to the station flown by Atlantis.
This mission marked the first time astronauts from the European Space Agency, Canada, Russia and the U.S. were in space on the same complex at one time - a prime example of nations that will be represented on the International Space Station.
The Russian-built Docking Module (DM), carried aloft by Atlantis and left attached to the Kristall module of the MIR Space Station, was designed to allow Shuttle-MIR dockings with the Kristall module located at the MIR radial port.
Without the DM, Kristall would have to be moved to the longitudinal axis of MIR to provide clearance for each Shuttle docking. The longitudinal axis location was undesirable for Kristall because the longitudinal port was normally a location for Progress resupply modules and Soyuz spacecraft. In addition, it was not desirable to continually move the Kristall from port to port in preparation for a Shuttle docking.
The DM was 15.4 feet long from tip to tip of the identical Androgynous Peripheral Docking Systems (APDS) located on either end. For identification purposes, APDS-1 was the system that was attached to Kristall and APDS-2 was attached to Atlantis. The DM diameter was 7.2 feet, and the module weighed approximately 9,011 pounds.
The DM was constructed of aluminum alloy covered on the exterior by Screen Vacuum Thermal Insulation (SVTI) and a micrometeoroid shield over the body of the module. A truss structure was attached to the module to provide latching to the Shuttle while horizontal in the cargo bay, and the truss remained attached to the module after the cargo bay latches were released and the DM was unberthed.
On the exterior of the module, two MIR solar array containers were attached to transport solar arrays to the MIR. The solar array containers were attached on either side of the top of the module as it was situated while in the cargo bay of Atlantis. The solar arrays will be removed from the containers and attached to the MIR during a spacewalk by the MIR cosmonauts after STS-74.
The two solar arrays were different types. One was called the Cooperative Solar Array (CSA) and was built as a cooperative effort between NASA and Russia. The other was a Russian Solar Array (RSA). The Cooperative Solar Array used Russian structures and NASA photovoltaic modules and was designed as part of the Phase 1 operations of the International Space Station Program. The array was expected to provide greater power and longer life expectancy over existing arrays and will help to power U.S. experiments aboard the MIR.
During three days of joint operations, astronauts and cosmonauts transferred the American biomedical and microgravity science samples and data collected by the MIR-18, MIR-19, and MIR-20 resident crews, from the space station to the Shuttle. After return to Earth, the information was analyzed by researchers on the ground. Included in the items being returned were some samples from an ongoing European Space Agency mission - continuing the international cooperation in space that will carry on into the future.
Crew members also transferred hardware and supplies to MIR for future biomedical and environmental investigations. Data and samples gathered from those investigations will be retrieved during future Shuttle/MIR missions. All materials gathered during STS-74, and other planned missions, will provide important information in the design, development, and operation of future space stations.
Water, food, and science instruments were transferred to MIR for resupply and to support experiments to be conducted on board the space station by the resident MIR-20 crew and the following MIR-21 crew in early 1996. American astronaut Shannon Lucid is then scheduled to launch on the Shuttle (STS-76) in March 1996, and join the MIR-21 crew to continue these investigations that will focus on life sciences, microgravity science, space science, Earth science and technology.
Water samples collected from MIR were returned to Earth for analysis to help determine its purity. The MIR ISS and Reclaimed Waters investigations provided researchers with information to be used in designing, developing, and evaluating water purification units for the ISS. Samples of MIR's potable, reclaimed hygiene water, unprocessed hygiene water, and humidity condensate all was analyzed postflight to determine their chemical and microbiological characteristics.
The Greenhouse Integrated Plant Experiment began with the MIR-19 crew and was continued by the resident MIR-20 crew. The studies, which were expected to be complete prior to the arrival of Atlantis, were designed to study how plants grow in microgravity and determine how space flight affects plant reproduction, metabolism and productivity. This investigation provided data that could validate the use of oxygen-generating plants in an advanced life support system for future space stations.
Meanwhile, flying aboard Atlantis was the GPP payload which consisted of two experiments - the GPP experiment and the Photogrammetric Appendage Structural Dynamics Experiment (PASDE). The payload was managed by Goddard Space Flight Center's Special Payloads Division. The GPP studied the Earth's thermosphere, ionosphere and mesosphere energetics and dynamics using broadband spectroscopy. GPP also studied spacecraft interactions with the atmosphere by observing shuttle and MIR glow, shuttle engine firings, water dumps and fuel cell purges.
Star tracker systems and inertial measurement units were integral to the navigation systems of both the MIR and the Shuttle. The Shuttle/MIR Alignment Stability Experiment entails multiple three-hour data collection periods during the docked phase when navigational-dependent events occur (i.e. thruster firings, IMU alignments, or inertial attitude hold). These data were used to determine the stability of, and sources of any instability between, the Shuttle and MIR navigation systems while the two vehicles were docked. Characterization of Shuttle/MIR relative alignment stability enabled mission planners to determine the feasibility of transferring attitude data between Shuttle and MIR, or Shuttle and the International Space Station.
Three PASDE canisters, located throughout the cargo bay, also photogrammetrically recorded structural response data of the MIR solar arrays during the docked phase of the mission. This data was later analyzed on the ground to verify the use of photogrammetric techniques to characterize the structural dynamics of the array, thus demonstrating that this technology would result in cost and risk reduction for the International Space Station.
After three days of common flight, the separation occurred on November 18, 1995.
The second EVA Yuri Gidzenko and Sergei Avdeyev occurred on December 08, 1995 (0h 29m). The cosmonauts repositioned a docking adapter.
Progress M-30 was launched on December 18, 1995 at 14:31 UTC. The unmanned resupply vessel docked with MIR on December 20, 1995 at 16:10:15 UTC, undocked on February 22, 1996 at 07:30:02 UTC and was destroyed in reentry on February 22, 1996 11:02:36 UTC.
The third and final EVA was performed by Yuri Gidzenko and Thomas Reiter on February 08, 1996 (3h 05m) to retrieve cassettes of the European Space Exposure Facility experiments (ESEF).
The spaceflight took two months longer than planned due of missing money for the following mission. It was the longest space flight of a non Russian to date by Thomas Reiter.
The relief crew with Yuri Onufriyenko and Yuri Usachyov on board Soyuz TM-23 was launched on February 21, 1996 and docked with MIR at 14:20:35 UTC on February 23, 1996.
The Soyuz spacecraft is composed of three elements attached end-to-end - the Orbital Module, the Descent Module and the Instrumentation/Propulsion Module. The crew occupied the central element, the Descent Module. The other two modules are jettisoned prior to re-entry. They burn up in the atmosphere, so only the Descent Module returned to Earth.
Having shed two-thirds of its mass, the Soyuz reached Entry Interface - a point 400,000 feet above the Earth, where friction due to the thickening atmosphere began to heat its outer surfaces. With only 23 minutes left before it lands on the grassy plains of central Asia, attention in the module turned to slowing its rate of descent.
Eight minutes later, the spacecraft was streaking through the sky at a rate of 755 feet per second. Before it touched down, its speed slowed to only 5 feet per second, and it lands at an even lower speed than that. Several onboard features ensure that the vehicle and crew land safely and in relative comfort.
Four parachutes, deployed 15 minutes before landing, dramatically slowed the vehicle's rate of descent. Two pilot parachutes were the first to be released, and a drogue chute attached to the second one followed immediately after. The drogue, measuring 24 square meters (258 square feet) in area, slowed the rate of descent from 755 feet per second to 262 feet per second.
The main parachute was the last to emerge. It is the largest chute, with a surface area of 10,764 square feet. Its harnesses shifted the vehicle's attitude to a 30-degree angle relative to the ground, dissipating heat, and then shifted it again to a straight vertical descent prior to landing.
The main chute slowed the Soyuz to a descent rate of only 24 feet per second, which is still too fast for a comfortable landing. One second before touchdown, two sets of three small engines on the bottom of the vehicle fired, slowing the vehicle to soften the landing.
Soyuz TM-22 landed on February 29, 1996 at 10:42 UTC.
Last update on September 20, 2014.