Human Spaceflights

International Flight No. 264

Soyuz TMA-15



Patch Soyuz TMA-15 OasISS patch

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Launch, orbit and landing data

Launch date:  27.05.2009
Launch time:  10:34:53.043 UTC
Launch site:  Baikonur
Launch pad:  1
Altitude:  337 - 345 km
Inclination:  51.64°
Docking ISS:  29.05.2009, 12:34:24 UTC
Undocking ISS:  01.12.2009, 03:55:59 UTC
Landing date:  01.12.2009
Landing time:  07:16:30.6 UTC
Landing site:  51°06'18.18" N, 67°17'17.7" E

walkout photo

Crew Soyuz TMA-15

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No.   Surname Given names Position Flight No. Duration Orbits
1  Romanenko  Roman Yuriyevich  Commander 1 187d 20h 41m 38s  2961 
2  De Winne  Frank Luc  Flight Engineer 2 187d 20h 41m 38s  2961 
3  Thirsk  Robert Brent  Flight Engineer 2 187d 20h 41m 38s  2961 

Crew seating arrangement

1  Romanenko
2  De Winne
3  Thirsk
Soyuz TMA spacecraft
1  Romanenko
2  De Winne
3  Thirsk

Backup Crew

No.   Surname Given names Position
1  Kondratiyev  Dmitri Yuriyevich  Commander
2  Kuipers  André  Flight Engineer
3  Hadfield  Chris Austin  Flight Engineer
Crew Sojus TMA-15 (backup)
Patch Soyuz TMA-15 (backup crew)

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Launch vehicle:  Soyuz-FG (No. 21M134S Yu15000-030)
Spacecraft:  Soyuz TMA-15 (TMA No. 225)


Launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome. Landing 99 km NNE of Arkalyk. ISS Expedition 20 / 21.

Following a two-day solo flight Soyuz TMA-15 docked to ISS on May 29, 2009. Roman Romanenko, Frank De Winne and Robert Thirsk became the ISS Expedition 20 (together with ISS Expedition 19 crew members Gennadi Padalka, Michael Barratt and Koichi Wakata). The ISS resident crew raised up to six persons.

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.
The deorbit burn lasted 261 seconds. Having shed two-thirds of its mass, the Soyuz reached Entry Interface - a point 400,000 feet (121.9 kilometers) 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 (230 meters) per second. Before it touched down, its speed slowed to only 5 feet (1.5 meter) 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 (230 meters) per second to 262 feet (80 meters) per second.
The main parachute was the last to emerge. It is the largest chute, with a surface area of 10,764 square feet (1,000 square meters). 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 (7.3 meters) 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.

Photos / Graphics

Soyuz TMA spacecraft Soyuz TMA landing module
crew in training Frank De Winne in training
Frank De Winne in training Soyuz TMA-15 integration
traidional tree plant in Baikonur

Credit: GTCT

Soyuz TMA-15 rollout
Soyuz TMA-15 on launch pad Soyuz TMA-15 launch
Soyuz TMA-15 in orbit Soyuz TMA-15 recovery
Soyuz TMA-15: Homecoming ceremony  


Last update on May 11, 2021.