Soyuz TMA-12M approaches the ISS, 27 March 2014.
|Mission type||ISS crew transport|
|Mission duration||6 months (planned)|
|Spacecraft type||Soyuz-TMA 11F747|
Steven R. Swanson
|Start of mission|
|Launch date||25 March 2014
|Launch site||Baikonur 1/5|
|End of mission|
|Landing date||September 2014 (planned)|
|Docking with ISS|
|Docking port||Poisk zenith|
|Docking date||27 March 2014
Soyuz TMA-12M is a 2014 flight to the International Space Station. It transported three members of the Expedition 39 crew to the International Space Station. TMA-12M is the 121st flight of a Soyuz spacecraft since the first in 1967 and the 38th Soyuz mission to the ISS. The Soyuz is to remain docked to the space station to serve as an emergency escape vehicle until TMA-12M's scheduled return to Earth in September 2014.
After a successful launch on 25 March 2014, docking was scheduled to occur on 26 March via the relatively new six-hour duration orbital trajectory. In the event, one of the orbital burns scheduled to refine the trajectory did not occur as planned, due to an attitude control problem in which the spacecraft was incorrectly oriented. The rendezvous phase was subsequently replanned to the formerly-used two-day trajectory. Accordingly, TMA-12M arrived at the ISS on 27 March.
|Commander||Aleksandr Skvortsov, RSA
|Flight Engineer 1||Oleg Artemyev, RSA
|Flight Engineer 2||Steven R. Swanson, NASA
|Commander||Aleksandr Samokutyayev, RSA|
|Flight Engineer 1||Yelena Serova, RSA|
|Flight Engineer 2||Barry E. Wilmore, NASA|
Soyuz TMA-12M successfully launched aboard a Soyuz-FG rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 21:17 UTC on Tuesday, 25 March 2014 (3:17 AM Wednesday 26 March local time). Approximately nine minutes later, the spacecraft reached low Earth orbit.
Because of the nighttime launch and the fact that the International Space Station was orbiting over Baikonur at the time of lift-off, the launch of TMA-12M was visible from the ISS and NASA astronaut Richard Mastracchio was able to take a photograph of the view (see below in gallery).
Rendezvous and docking
Originally, TMA-12M was scheduled to dock with the International Space Station's Poisk module at 03:04 UTC on 26 March 2014, with hatch opening scheduled for 04:45 UTC. The spacecraft was not able to perform the third course-correction successfully, however, and docking was rescheduled for Thursday, 27 March at 23:58 UTC at the earliest. The approach and docking phase of the mission was reverted to the previous two-day profile used in Soyuz flights before Soyuz TMA-08M, leaving the possibility of updating the mission profile after the nature of the issue was fully known. Initially, flight controllers suspected it was an issue with the attitude (orientation) control system. According to flight controllers, the crew was not in any danger and ample supplies were on board the Soyuz for the modified flight profile.
On 26 March, the first two maneuvers of the revised 34-orbit rendezvous plan occurred without incident, with docking scheduled for 27 March, although engineers had yet to determine the exact cause of the initial failure. Ultimately, the remainder of the rendezvous was nominal and TMA-12M successfully docked with the ISS at 23:53 UTC on 27 March, five minutes ahead of the rescheduled time, with hatch opening between the two spacecraft occurring at 02:35 UTC on 28 March.
Upon their arrival, Skvortsov, Artemyev and Swanson joined the crew of Expedition 39, as part of which they are to remain until they transfer to the crew of Expedition 40 after the planned May 2014 departure of Soyuz TMA-11M. The crew members of TMA-12M are scheduled remain aboard the ISS until September 2014, when the spacecraft is slated to undock and return to Earth.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Soyuz TMA-12M.|
|Wikinews has related news: Soyuz TMA-12M arrives at International Space Station after delay|
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