Human Spaceflights

International Flight No. 284

Soyuz TMA-04M

Altair

Russia

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Launch, orbit and landing data

Launch date:  15.05.2012
Launch time:  03:01 UTC
Launch site:  Baikonur
Launch pad:  1
Altitude:  406 - 427 km
Inclination:  51.65°
Docking ISS:  17.05.2012, 04:36 UTC
Undocking ISS:  16.09.2012, 23:09 UTC
Landing date:  17.09.2012
Landing time:  02:53 UTC
Landing site:  50°59'11,6"N, 67°15'22,2"E

walkout photo

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Crew

No.   Surname Given names Position Flight No. Duration Orbits
1  Padalka  Gennadi Ivanovich  Commander 4 124d 23h 52m  1946 
2  Revin  Sergei Nikolayevich  Flight Engineer 1 124d 23h 52m  1946 
3  Acaba  Joseph Michael  Flight Engineer 2 124d 23h 52m  1946 

Crew seating arrangement

Launch
1  Padalka
2  Revin
3  Acaba
Landing
1  Padalka
2  Revin
3  Acaba

Animations: Soyuz

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with friendly permission of www.marscenter.it

Double Crew

No.   Surname Given names Position
1  Novitsky  Oleg Viktorovich  Commander
2  Tarelkin  Yevgeni Igorevich  Flight Engineer
3  Ford  Kevin Anthony  Flight Engineer

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Flight

Launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome. Landing 85 km NE of Arkalyk. ISS Expedition 31 / 32.

Following a two day solo flight Soyuz TMA-04M docked to ISS on May 17, 2012. Gennadi Padalka, Sergei Revin and Joseph Acaba became the ISS Expedition 31 (together with ISS Expedition 30 crew members Oleg Kononenko, André Kuipers and Donald Pettit).

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.

Drawings / Photos

 

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Last update on November 22, 2014.