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Soyuz TMA-11

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Soyuz TMA-11
COSPAR ID2007-045A Edit this at Wikidata
SATCAT no.32256Edit this on Wikidata
Mission duration191 days, 19 hours, 17 minutes
Spacecraft properties
Spacecraft typeSoyuz-TMA 11F732
ManufacturerRKK Energia
Crew size3
MembersYuri Malenchenko
Peggy A. Whitson
LaunchingSheikh Muszaphar Shukor
LandingYi So-Yeon
Start of mission
Launch dateOctober 10, 2007, 13:22:39 (2007-10-10UTC13:22:39Z) UTC
Launch siteBaikonur 1/5
End of mission
Landing dateApril 19, 2008, 08:30 (2008-04-19UTC08:31Z) UTC
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric
RegimeLow Earth
Inclination51.6 degrees
Docking with ISS
Docking portZarya
Docking date12 October 2007
14:50 UTC
Undocking date19 April 2008
05:06 UTC
Time docked189d 14h 16m

From left to right: Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor, Yuri Malenchenko, Peggy Whitson
Soyuz programme
(Crewed missions)

Soyuz TMA-11 was a human spaceflight mission using a Soyuz-TMA spacecraft to transport personnel to and from the International Space Station (ISS). The mission began at 13:22 UTC on October 10, 2007, when the spacecraft was launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome by a Soyuz FG launch vehicle. It brought to the station two members of the ISS Expedition 16 crew, as well as Sheikh Muszaphar, the first Malaysian in space. TMA-11 remained at the station as an escape craft, and returned safely to Earth on April 19, 2008, after it had been replaced by Soyuz TMA-12. Although the vehicle landed safely, it suffered a partial separation failure which caused a ballistic re-entry that in turn caused it to land 475 km from the intended landing point.


Position Launching crew Landing crew
Commander Russia Yuri Malenchenko, RKA
Expedition 16
Fourth spaceflight
Flight Engineer United States Peggy Whitson, NASA
Expedition 16
Second spaceflight
Spaceflight Participant Malaysia Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor, ANGKASA[3][4]
Only spaceflight
South Korea Yi So-Yeon, KAP[1][2]
Only spaceflight

Backup crew[edit]

Position Launching crew Landing crew
Commander Russia Salizhan Sharipov, RKA
Flight Engineer United States Michael Fincke, NASA
Spaceflight Participant Malaysia Faiz Khaleed, ANGKASA[5] South Korea Ko San, KAP

Crew notes[edit]

Sheikh Muszaphar flew as a guest of the Russian government.[6] Under this program, in exchange for the multi-billion purchase of fighter jets by Malaysia, the Russian Federation bore the cost of training two Malaysians for space travel and for sending one to the ISS.

Sheikh Muszaphar's role aboard the Soyuz is referred to as a Spaceflight Participant in English-language Russian Federal Space Agency and NASA documents and press briefings.[5][7][8][9] This caused some confusion among the public, since the term Spaceflight Participant is also used for space tourists. Speaking to Malaysian media outlets, Alexander Karchava, the Russian ambassador to Malaysia, stated that Sheikh Muszaphar is a "fully-fledged cosmonaut".[10] In an interview with the Malaysian Star newspaper, Robert Gibson, a retired NASA astronaut, shared his opinion that Sheikh Muszaphar is fully qualified as an astronaut, and as such, he should be called one. Gibson also said he regarded Sheikh Muszaphar as a peer.[11]

Mission highlights[edit]

Soyuz TMA-11 spacecraft approaches the International Space Station.

The launch, which took place at 13:22 UTC (5:22 p.m. Moscow time) on October 10, 2007, "Went off successfully and without a hitch" according to a Russian official.[12] In Malaysia, crowds in the capital city of Kuala Lumpur cheered as they watched the live launch broadcast on television sets in Dataran Merdeka (Independence Square). The giant screen originally set up for this purpose failed to function properly.[13]

The Soyuz TMA-11 docking to the ISS occurred at 14:50 UTC on October 12, 2007.[14]

Ballistic reentry[edit]

The spacecraft landed in Kazakhstan on April 19, 2008. Similar to Soyuz TMA-1 / Expedition 6 and Soyuz TMA-10 / Expedition 15, the Soyuz performed a ballistic reentry, a reentry steeper than a normal reentry, due to a malfunction and landed 475 km from the intended landing point. This was the second such event in a row for Soyuz TMA. Although the crew were recovered with no serious injuries, the spacecraft's hatch and antenna suffered burn damage during the unusual reentry. Yi So-yeon was hospitalized after her return to South Korea due to injuries caused by the rough return voyage in the Soyuz TMA-11 spacecraft. The South Korean Science Ministry stated that the astronaut had a minor injury to her neck muscles and had bruised her spinal column.[15][16] The Russian news agency Interfax reported the ship may have entered the atmosphere hatch-first.[17]

Anatoly Perminov, the head of the Russian Federal Space Agency, speculated that the ballistic reentry was connected to a Russian nautical superstition that having more women than men on a craft was unlucky.[18] The return flight of Soyuz TMA-11 was the first time two women flew together on board a Soyuz and it was the first time women outnumbered men aboard a spacecraft since Valentina Tereshkova's solo flight in 1963. "This isn't discrimination," Perminov stated when challenged on the point. "I'm just saying that when a majority [of the crew] is female, sometimes certain kinds of unsanctioned behaviour or something else occurs." Perminov said he would try to ensure that the number of women would not exceed the number of men in the future.[19]

On May 24, 2008, Perminov announced the results of the investigation into the malfunction. The principal reason for the unusual re-entry was failure of the service module to separate normally as a result of one of five pyro-bolts malfunctioning.[20] The root cause of the failure was not definitively determined, but the Russian investigation concluded that long-term exposure to the electrical environment surrounding the ISS may have damaged the firing system. A similar anomaly occurred during the re-entry of Soyuz 5 in 1969.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Cho Jin-seo (2007). "Sputnik and Arirang: 50 Years of Space Exploration and Korea". The Korea Times. Archived from the original on October 16, 2007. Retrieved October 30, 2007.
  2. ^ "S. Korean astronaut to fly to space station". NBC News. Associated Press. 2007. Retrieved October 30, 2007.
  3. ^ Shavkat Rakhmatullayev (October 10, 2007). "Russian rocket launches first Malaysian into space". Reuters. Retrieved October 10, 2007.
  4. ^ "Soyuz Craft Lands Safely in Kazakhstan". ABC News. Associated Press. 2007. Archived from the original on June 8, 2009. Retrieved October 21, 2007.
  5. ^ a b NASA (2007-07-17). "NASA Holds Briefing With First Female Station Commander and Crew". NASA.
  6. ^ William Harwood for CBS News (2007). "New crew arrives at station aboard Soyuz capsule". Spaceflight Now. Retrieved December 20, 2007.
  7. ^ NASA (2007). "NASA TV Coverage Set for Space Station Crew Exchange". NASA. Retrieved October 10, 2007.
  8. ^ MSNBC (2007). "Russian tycoon-explorer may go into space". NBC News. Retrieved October 10, 2007.
  9. ^ Russian Federal Space Agency (2007). "Biography of Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor in Russian Federal Space Agency Website". Russian Federal Space Agency. Archived from the original on October 27, 2007. Retrieved October 12, 2007.
  10. ^ theStar (2007). "Russian envoy confirms that Malaysian is not a 'mere passenger'". TheStar. Retrieved October 4, 2007.
  11. ^ TheStar (2007). "Malaysian a full-fledged cosmonaut, says ex-astronaut". TheStar. Archived from the original on October 13, 2007. Retrieved October 11, 2007.
  12. ^ Shavkat Rakhmatullayev (2007-10-10). "Russian rocket launches first Malaysian into space". Reuters.
  13. ^ The Star (2007). "Angkasawan's restaurant staff host celebration". The Star. Archived from the original on October 13, 2007. Retrieved December 20, 2007.
  14. ^ Vladamir Isachenkov (2007). "Soyuz Craft Docks With International Space Station". Space.com. Retrieved December 20, 2007.
  15. ^ Lee Ji-yeon (30 April 2008). "Great ball of fire! Nomads saved astronauts". MSNBC. Archived from the original on 2008-05-06.
  16. ^ "South Korean Astronaut Hospitalized", Aviation Week, May 2, 2008
  17. ^ Soyuz crew was in danger during descent Archived May 1, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  18. ^ Jeff Foust (20 April 2008). "With partners like these…". spacepolitics.com. Retrieved March 19, 2023.
  19. ^ "Russian space capsule misses landing by 420 km". 19 April 2008. Archived from the original on 2008-05-10. Retrieved 2008-04-22.
  20. ^ "Soyuz TMA-11". spacefacts.de. Retrieved March 20, 2023.

External links[edit]