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    ISS Missions 1998-2006[Old]

    ISS Spacecraft: Soyuz TM

    Source: NASA

    The Soyuz TM spacecraft transports crews to and from the Mir space station. The Soyuz TM will be used for routine crew transport for the International Space Station and also for emergency crew return. The Soyuz can transport two or three cosmonauts and deliver 350 kg of payload. The overall mass of the spacecraft at launch is 7,120 kilograms and its length is approximately 7 meters. The diameter of the modules is about 2.2 meters and the span of the deployed solar arrays is 10.6 meters. The total habitable volume is 10 cubic meters. The Soyuz TM spacecraft is illustrated in Figure 1.

    Figure 1: Soyuz TM Spacecraft

    The Soyuz TM spacecraft is composed of three modules: Orbital Module, Descent Module, and Instrument-Service Module. The three modules remain connected throughout the mission until after the deorbit maneuver. During ascent and orbital flight, a form-fitted thermal insulation blanket covers all three modules except for the radiator, solar arrays, and antennas. The Soyuz TM modules are illustrated in Figure 2.

    Figure 2: Soyuz Spacecraft Modules(Photo of Soyuz during pre-launch processing)

    Orbital Module

    The orbital module (OM) is a spherical pressure vessel with a volume of 6.5 cubic meters. The crew uses this module for operations during the orbital phase of a mission. A docking mechanism, hatch, and rendezvous antennas are located at the front end of the orbital module. There is a "blister window" on the orbital module which provides a forward view. The opposite end of the orbital module attaches to the descent module and there is a hatch between the two modules. The orbital module separates from the descent module following the deorbit maneuver and disintegrates during entry into the atmosphere.

    Descent Module

    The descent module (DM) contains two or three personally contoured couches where the cosmonauts recline for ascent, descent, and landing. The controls and displays needed for all critical flight activities are located in the descent module. The module contains life support provisions and batteries for the descent phase of the mission as well as primary and backup parachutes and landing rockets. The attitude control system in the descent module, used only in the descent phase, employs eight hydrogen-peroxide thrusters. The descent module has an independent guidance, navigation, and control system that is simpler than the main system in the instrument-service module. There is a periscope in the descent module that provides the crew with a forward view toward the docking mechanism and a downward view for seeing the surface of the Earth.

    The mass of the descent module is 2,900 kg and its habitable volume is 4 cubic meters. Approximately 150 kg of payload can be returned in the descent module. The primary and backup parachute containers and the area that houses the hydrogen-peroxide propellant tanks are separate pressurized volumes with their own access covers.

    The descent module is the only portion of the Soyuz TM spacecraft that returns intact to Earth. After landing, the crew leaves the descent module through its single top hatch, usually with assistance from the recovery team.

    Instrument-Service Module

    The instrument-service module (ISM) is analogous to the Service Module on the Apollo spacecraft. The instrument-service module has three sections. The transition section provides the structural attachment to the descent module and contains oxygen storage tanks and attitude control thrusters. The instrument section is a cylindrical pressure vessel containing avionics, communications, and control equipment. The service section is the structural interface with the launch vehicle and includes the propulsion system, batteries, solar arrays, and radiator.

    The avionics equipment in the instrument section includes the primary guidance, navigation, control, and computer systems for the entire Soyuz TM spacecraft. The instrument section is a sealed pressure vessel containing nitrogen gas and the equipment within it is cooled by circulation of the gas. The instrument-service module contains the primary thermal control system including the body-mounted radiator with an area of 8 square meters.

    The propulsion system in the instrument-service module performs all orbital maneuvers including those needed for rendezvous with the space station and the deorbit maneuver at the end of the mission. The propellants are nitrogen tetroxide and unsymmetric-dimethylhydrazine. The propulsion system shares its propellant tanks with the reaction control system that provides attitude control throughout the orbital phase of flight.

    Two solar power arrays are attached to either side of the aft section. The solar arrays are linked to rechargeable batteries. The arrays fold against the spacecraft body for ascent and when deployed, resemble wings. Once the solar arrays are deployed, they cannot be folded again. There are a number of antennas and other sensors located on the exterior of the instrument-service module and on the solar arrays.

    The instrument-service module separates from the descent module following the deorbit maneuver and disintegrates during entry into the atmosphere.

    Soyuz TM Crew

    Depending upon the orbital mission, the crew of the Soyuz TM can consist of two or three people:

    - vehicle commander in the center seat

    - flight engineer in the left seat

    - cosmonaut-researcher in the right seat (on three-person crews)

    The vehicle commander is responsible for leadership of crew activities and overall mission success. The flight engineer is responsible for operation of spacecraft systems and implementation of flight procedures. The cosmonaut-researcher executes instructions from the commander for spacecraft systems operations, communicates with ground control, and conducts photography, videotaping and television broadcast sessions.

    Size requirements, shown in Table 1, have been established for crew members who will fly in the Soyuz TM. These requirements result from limits in cabin volume and overall vehicle mass and the design of the shock-absorbing seats. The height and weight limits do not include suits.

    Table 1: Soyuz Crew Member Size Limits

    Crew Measurement

    Unmodified Soyuz TM (before June 1999)

    Modified Soyuz TM (after June 1999)

    Maximum standing height

    182 cm

    190 cm

    Minimum standing height

    164 cm

    150 cm

    Maximum sitting height in Soyuz seat

    94 cm

    99 cm

    Minimum sitting height in Soyuz seat

    80 cm

    80 cm

    Maximum crew mass

    85 kg

    95 kg

    Minimum crew mass

    56 kg

    50 kg

    Maximum foot length

    none defined

    29.5 cm

    Maximum bideltoid breadth

    none defined

    52 cm

    Maximum interscye breadth

    none defined

    45 cm

    Maximum hip breadth, sitting

    none defined

    41 cm

    Maximum thigh-to-thigh breadth

    none defined

    41 cm

    Maximum chest circumference

    112 cm

    none

    Minimum chest circumference

    96 cm

    none

    Typical Soyuz TM Mission

    About two hours before launch, the cosmonauts enter the Soyuz TM on the launch pad through the side hatch in the orbital module and then crawl through to their couches in the descent module. Ground control personnel observe the cosmonauts’ medical parameters and can track the crew’s activities using television monitors. The spacecraft is launched within an aerodynamic shroud by an expendable launch vehicle. A solid rocket launch escape system is located in a tower on top of the shroud. The Soyuz TM, its launch shroud, and launch escape tower are shown in Figure 3.

    The launch vehicle, also known as Soyuz, is a derivative of the launch vehicle family that launched every piloted Soviet or Russian mission and many other satellites going back to the original Sputnik. All Soyuz missions have been launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan which is at a latitude of 45.6 degrees North. The Soyuz TM spacecraft are launched to the orbital inclination of the Mir space station which is 51.6 degrees. The altitude of Mir ranges from 325 to 350 kilometers.

    The cosmonauts wear Sokol pressure suits during launch, orbital insertion, rendezvous, docking, undocking, and descent. The cosmonauts generally remain in the descent module during these dynamic flight phases. But, one cosmonaut can be located in the orbital module to monitor manual rendezvous operations. During non-dynamic flight phases the cosmonauts do not wear pressure suits and they are free to move between the descent module and the orbital module.

    The process to rendezvous with the space station normally takes about two days. During the final phase of docking the crew remains in the descent module in their pressure suits. After docking, the crew can move into the station through the hatch at the front of the orbital module. Soyuz TM spacecraft have remained docked in orbit for up to six months.

    At the conclusion of the mission, the Soyuz TM spacecraft separates from the station and performs a deorbit maneuver. After the completion of the deorbit burn, the orbital module and the instrument-service module are separated from the descent module. All three modules descend separately but only the descent module is designed for controlled descent and recovery.

    Soyuz recoveries normally occur on land in Kazakhstan. There are provisions for emergency water recovery but there has only been one instance of a water landing for Soyuz. In 1976, Soyuz 23 accidentally landed in a frozen lake. The spacecraft and crew were recovered.

    Figure 3: Soyuz Spacecraft Inside Launch Shroud (Images of shroud and Soyuz integration at Baikonur)


    RSC Energia Status Reports and Photo Reports on Soyuz Processing and launch Operations

    Soyuz TM-32/ISS-2S Mission (Soyuz Taxi Flight)

  • 28 April 2001: Photo Report: Russian Soyuz-U rocket with Soyuz TM-32 spaceship in flight
  • 28 April 2001: Photo Report: Soyuz TM-32 crew at the launch pad prior to boarding their spacecraft
  • 28 April 2001: Photo Report: Commander of Soyuz TM-32 crew, T.A.Musabaev reports to the Chairman of the State Committee
  • 28 April 2001: Photo Report: Final space suit check-out and pre-launch news conference with the Soyuz TM-32 crew
  • 26 April 2001: Photo Report: Installation of the Soyuz-U launch vehicle and Soyuz TM-32 spacecraft on the launching pad
  • 26 April 2001: Photo Report: Closeup view of Soyuz Crew Recovery System
  • 26 April 2001: Photo Report: Transfer of the Soyuz TM-32 and Booster to Launch Site
  • 26 April 2001: Photo Report: Integration of the Soyuz TM-32 With its Launch Vehicle
  • 25 April 2001: Photo Report: Transfer of Soyuz TM-32 for General Assembly at Baikonur
  • 25 April 2001: Photo Report: Soyuz TM-32 Crew Arrives at Baikonur Cosmodrome
  • 24 April 2001: Photo Report: Final Inspection of Soyuz TM-32 Spacecraft at Baikonur
  • 24 April 2001: Photo Report: Shroud Roll-On Over Soyuz TM-32 Spacecraft
  • 17 April 2001: Crew of Soyuz TM-32 Arrives at Baikonur Cosmodrome

    Soyuz TM-31/ISS-1S Mission (Expedition 1 Launch)

  • 31 October 2000: Photos of the ISS 2r Expedition 1 Crew from Baikonur Cosmodrome
  • 31 October 2000: Energia Press Release on the Soyuz TM-31 (Expedition 1) Launch
  • 31 October 2000: Photos of the Expedition 1 Crew Preparing to Depart for the Launch Site
  • 31 October 2000: Photos of the Expedition 1 Crew at the Baikonur Cosmodrome
  • 31 October 2000: Photos of the Launch of ISS Mission 2R at the Baikonur Cosmodrome
  • 30 October 2000: Interstate Committee approves the makeup of ISS prime and backup crews.
  • 29 October 2000: Photos of the Delivery of the Expedition 1 Soyuz TM to its launch pad at Baikonur Cosmodrome
  • 28 October 2000: Photos of the Integration of the Expedition Soyuz TM with its launch vehicle in the Assembly and Testing Facility
  • 27 October 2000: Photos of Soyuz TM Vehicle transfer from Spacecraft Assembly and Testing Facility to Launch Vehicle Assembly and Testing Facility
  • 27 October 2000: Photo Collection #2 of the Expedition 1 Soyuz TM Crew Fit Check at Baikonur
  • 27 October 2000: Photo Collection #1 of the Expedition 1 Soyuz TM Crew Fit Check at Baikonur
  • 25 October 2000: Photos of Designers inspection of the Soyuz TM space vehicle at Baikonur
  • 25 October 2000: Photos of the Payload shroud roll on to the Soyuz TM space vehicle at Baikonur

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