International Flight No. 135
|No.||Surname||Given names||Position||Flight No.||Duration||Orbits|
|1||Afanasiyev||Viktor Mikhailovich||Commander||1||175d 01h 50m||2770|
|2||Manarov||Musa Khiromanovich||Flight Engineer||2||175d 01h 50m||2770|
|3||Akiyama||Toyohiro||Research Cosmonaut||1||7d 21h 54m||125|
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Launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome; landing 68 km southeast of Dzheskasgan.
Soyuz TM-11 carried the first commercial flight in Soviet space flight history. Toyohiro Akiyama's network, the Tokyo Broadcasting System (TBS), paid for the flight. The Soviets called this their first commercial spaceflight and claimed to have earned $14 million. The journalist was scheduled to make one 10 min TV broadcast and two 20 min radio broadcasts each day. Electrical power and video and TV system incompatibilities forced the Japanese to make extensive use of converters. His equipment, which weighed about 170 kg, was delivered by Progress-M spacecraft.
Following a two day solo flight Soyuz TM-11 docked with the Soyuz TM-10-Kvant1-MIR-Kristall-Kvant2 complex on December 04, 1990. The MIR-8 crew of Viktor Afanasiyev, Musa Manarov (on his second MIR visit), together with Japanese television journalist Toyohiro Akiyama were welcomed aboard MIR by the MIR-7 crew. Scientific work in Earth observation, biology, medicine and materials sciences with seventh resident crew of the station was done. Then Viktor Afanasiyev and Musa Manarov became the eighth resident crew
On December 05, 1990 Toyohiro Akiyama's couch was transferred to Soyuz TM-10. On December 08, 1990 Gennadi Manakov and Gennadi Strekalov commenced loading Soyuz TM-10's descent module with film and experiment results. TBS broadcast the landing of the MIR-7 crew and Toyohiro Akiyama landing live from Kazakhstan.
The first EVA occurred on January 07, 1991 (5h 18m). The cosmonauts opened Kvant2's EVA hatch and clambered outside. They repaired the damaged hinge, tested their handiwork by closing and sealing the hatch, then reopened the hatch and went about other tasks. These included transfer outside the station of equipment scheduled for installation on later EVAs. They also removed a TV camera from Kvant2 for repairs inside the station.
The second spacewalk was conducted on January 23, 1991 (5h 33m). The cosmonauts slowly transferred a carton 6 m long to a worksite on the base block. The container held Strela, a folded boom with a pivot mechanism at its base. They attached Strela to supports which originally held the base block's launch faring. The 45-kg boom was meant to play a key role in the transfer of Kristalls twin 500 kg collapsible solar arrays to the sides of Kvant. Maximum boom length was 14 m; maximum capacity, up to 700 kg.
On January 26, 1991 (6h 20m) both cosmonauts performed the third EVA. They installed support structures on Kvant. They were meant to hold the Kristall solar arrays.
Unmanned cargo spaceship Progress M-6 docked with the station on January 16, 1991. The freighter delivered new life support equipment to replace life-expired equipment aboard. Progress M-6 undocked on March 15, 1991 and was destroyed in reentry on the same day.
On March 21, 1991 as Progress M-7 approached the station, it broke off its approach 500 m from the aft docking port. On March 23, 1991 the craft made a second approach, but 20 m from the rear port a controller in the TsUP detected a "catastrophic error" and broke off the approach. Progress M-7 passed within 5 to 7 m of the station, narrowly avoiding antennas and solar arrays. The cargo ship was left in orbit near the station while the problem was worked on.
To diagnose the Progress M-7 problem, Viktor Afanasiyev and Musa Manarov undocked Soyuz TM-11 from the front port on March 26, 1991 and transferred it to the aft. During approach to the aft port, they used Kurs, rather than carrying out the transfer under manual control, as was typical. They found that their spacecraft mimicked Progress M-7's behavior, veering away from the docking port. The cosmonauts completed a normal manual docking at the aft port, having determined that the problem was in MIRs aft port Kurs antenna. On March 28, 1991, Progress M-7 docked at MIRs front port.
The fourth and final EVA occurred on April 25, 1991 (3h 34m). First Musa Manarov filmed the damaged Kvant Kurs antenna. He reported that one of its dishes was missing. During the EVA the cosmonauts also replaced the camera they had removed from Kvant2 on their first EVA and repaired inside MIR.
On May 20, 1991, the MIR-8 crew welcomed aboard MIR the MIR-9 crew of Anatoli Artsebarsky and Sergei Krikalyov (on his second visit to the station), accompanied by British Research Cosmonaut Helen Sharman. Helen Sharman was aboard as part of Project Juno, a cooperative venture partly sponsored by British private enterprise.
Helen Sharman's experimental program, which was designed by the Soviets, leaned heavily toward life sciences. A bag of 250,000 pansy seeds was placed in the Kvant2 EVA airlock, a compartment not as protected from cosmic radiation as other MIR compartments. Helen Sharman also contacted nine British schools by radio and conducted high-temperature superconductor experiments with the Elektropograph-7K device. Helen Sharman commented that she had difficulty finding equipment on MIR as there was a great deal more equipment than in the trainer in the cosmonaut city of Zvezdny Gorodok.
During a communication session with a British girls' school on May 21, 1991 Helen Sharman commented that MIR was experiencing solar array problems because of the station's changing orientation. Late that day the level of background noise on the station suddenly fell from the customary 75 decibels as fans, circulating pumps, and other equipment shut down. The lights began to fade. A computer in the orientation system had failed, preventing the solar arrays from tracking on the Sun, and causing MIR to drain its batteries. Helen Sharman stated that Viktor Afanasiyev and Musa Manarov told her such power problems had occurred before. When it reentered sunlight, the station was turned to recharge its batteries.
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.
Last update on September 20, 2014.