Human Spaceflights

International Flight No. 294

Soyuz TMA-12M

Cliff

Russia

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Launch, orbit and landing data

Launch date:  25.03.2014
Launch time:  21:17 UTC
Launch site:  Baikonur
Launch pad:  1
Altitude:  414 - 419 km
Inclination:  51,65°
Docking ISS:  27.03.2014, 23:54 UTC
Undocking ISS:  10.09.2014, 23:01 UTC
Landing date:  11.09.2014
Landing time:  02:23 UTC
Landing site:  47°18'40,122"N 69°33'20,67"E

walkout photo

Crew Soyuz TMA-12M

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Crew

No.   Surname Given names Position Flight No. Duration Orbits
1  Skvortsov  Aleksandr Aleksandrovich Jr.  Commander 2 169d 05h 06m  2626 
2  Artemyev  Oleg Germanovich  Flight Engineer 1 169d 05h 06m  2626 
3  Swanson  Steven Ray "Swanny"  Flight Engineer 3 169d 05h 06m  2626 

Crew seating arrangement

Launch
1  Skvortsov
2  Artemyev
3  Swanson
Landing
1  Skvortsov
2  Artemyev
3  Swanson

Animations: Soyuz

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Double Crew

No.   Surname Given names Position
1  Samokutyayev  Aleksandr Mikhailovich  Commander
2  Serova  Yelena Olegovna  Flight Engineer
3  Wilmore  Barry Eugene "Butch"  Flight Engineer
Crew Soyuz TMA-12M backup
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Flight

Launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome. ISS Expedition 39 / 40. Landing 149 km southeast of Dzheskasgan.

Soyuz TMA-12M, kicking off a planned four-orbit, six-hour rendezvous with the station. They executed the first two rendezvous firings on schedule, but the third firing was not carried out, possibly because the spacecraft was not in the expected attitude, or orientation. With the rendezvous sequence interrupted, Russian flight controllers defaulted to the more traditional two-day sequence.

Following a two day solo flight Soyuz TMA-12M docked to ISS on March 27, 2014. Aleksandr Skvortsov, Oleg Artemyev and Steven Swanson became the ISS Expedition 39 (together with ISS Expedition 38 crew members Mikhail Tyurin, Richard Mastracchio and Koichi Wakata).

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

crew in training crew in training
Soyuz TMA-12M rollout Soyuz TMA-12M erection
Soyuz TMA-12M on the launch pad Soyuz TMA-12M launch
Soyuz TMA-12M launch Crew Soyuz TMA-12M inflight
Soyuz TMA-12M landing Soyuz TMA-12M recovery

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Last update on November 22, 2014.