Human Spaceflights

International Flight No. 300

Soyuz TMA-18M

Eridanus

Russia

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Launch, orbit and landing data

Launch date:  02.09.2015
Launch time:  04:37:43.233 UTC
Launch site:  Baikonur
Launch pad:  1
Altitude:  350 km
Inclination:  51.6°
Docking ISS:  04.09.2015, 07:39:02 UTC
Undocking ISS:  02.03.2016, 01:03:48 UTC
Landing date:  02.03.2016
Landing time:  04:25:50.5 UTC
Landing site:  47°20'38,34"N, 69°41'56,28"E

walkout photo

Crew Soyuz TMA-18M

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Crew

No.   Surname Given names Position Flight No. Duration Orbits
1  Volkov  Sergei Aleksandrovich  Commander 3 181d 23h 48m 07s  2833 
2 Denmark  Mogensen  Andreas Enevold  Flight Engineer 1 9d 20h 13m 47s  156 
3 Kazakhstan  Aimbetov  Aydyn Akanovich  Flight Engineer 1 9d 20h 13m 47s  156 

Crew seating arrangement

Launch
1  Volkov
2  Mogensen
3  Aimbetov
Landing
1  Volkov
2  Korniyenko
3  Kelly

Animations: Soyuz

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Backup Crew

No.   Surname Given names Position
1  Skripochka  Oleg Ivanovich  Commander
2 France  Pesquet  Thomas Gautier  Flight Engineer
3  Prokopyev  Sergei Valerievich  Flight Engineer
Crew Soyuz TMA-18M backup
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original crew photo

Flight

Launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome. ISS Expedition 45 / 46 (only Sergei Volkov). Landing 157 km southeast of Dzheskasgan.

Originally it was planned to fly Sarah Brightman as Spaceflight Participant but on May 13, 2015 she announced that she dropped down the training.

Following a two day solo flight Soyuz TMA-18M docked to ISS on September 04, 2015. Sergei Volkov became member of the next resident crew (Expedition 45) (together with Scott Kelly, Mikhail Korniyenko, Oleg Kononenko, Kimiya Yui and Kjell Lindgren, while Andreas Mogensen and Aydyn Aimbetov are set to return with Soyuz TMA-16M.
The longer approach rather than the expedited four-orbit, six-hour approach comes as a result of the space station having performed a debris avoidance maneuver in August 2015. The outpost's current altitude is not conducive to the same day arrival.

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 (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.

Note

Andreas Mogensen and Aydyn Aimbetov landed on September 12, 2015 at 00:51:30.1 UTC with Soyuz TMA-16M spacecraft.

Graphics / Photos

crew in training Soyuz TMA-18M integration
Soyuz TMA-18M rollout Soyuz TMA-18M erection
Soyuz TMA-18M erection Soyuz TMA-18M on the launch pad
Soyuz TMA-18M launch Soyuz TMA-18M landing
Soyuz TMA-18M recovery  

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Last update on December 07, 2016.