Human Spaceflights

International Flight No. 276

Soyuz TMA-20



Patch Soyuz TMA-20 MAGISSTRA patch

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Patch Soyuz TMA-20

Launch, orbit and landing data

Launch date:  15.12.2010
Launch time:  19:09:24.963 UTC
Launch site:  Baikonur
Launch pad:  1
Altitude:  344 - 347 km
Inclination:  51.65°
Docking ISS:  17.12.2010, 20:11:32 UTC
Undocking ISS:  23.05.2011, 21:35:17 UTC
Landing date:  24.05.2011
Landing time:  02:26:40.1 UTC
Landing site:  47°21'57.84" N, 69°27'49.26" E

walkout photo

Crew Soyuz TMA-20

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alternative crew photo

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alternative crew photo

alternative crew photo

alternative crew photo


No.   Surname Given names Position Flight No. Duration Orbits
1  Kondratiyev  Dmitri Yuriyevich  Commander 1 159d 07h 17m 15s  2508 
2  Nespoli  Paolo Angelo  Flight Engineer 2 159d 07h 17m 15s  2508 
3  Coleman  Catherine Grace "Cady"  Flight Engineer 3 159d 07h 17m 15s  2508 

Crew seating arrangement

1  Kondratiyev
2  Nespoli
3  Coleman
Soyuz TMA spacecraft
1  Kondratiyev
2  Nespoli
3  Coleman

Backup Crew

No.   Surname Given names Position
1  Ivanishin  Anatoli Alekseyevich  Commander
2  Furukawa  Satoshi  Flight Engineer
3  Fossum  Michael Edward  Flight Engineer
Crew Soyuz TMA-20 backup
Patch Soyuz TMA-20 backup

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alternative crew photo

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Launch vehicle:  Soyuz-FG (No. 20M134S B15000-034)
Spacecraft:  Soyuz TMA-20 (TMA No. 230)


Launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome. Landing 140 km southeast of Dzheskasgan. ISS Expedition 26 / 27.

Following a two-day solo flight Soyuz TMA-20 docked to ISS on December 17, 2010. Dmitri Kondratiyev, Paolo Nespoli and Catherine Coleman became the ISS Expedition 26 (together with ISS Expedition 25 crew members Scott Kelly, Aleksandr Kaleri and Oleg Skripochka).

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.

Graphics / Photos

Soyuz TMA spacecraft Soyuz TMA landing module
crew in training Soyuz TMA-20 integration
Soyuz TMA-20 rollout Soyuz TMA-20 erection
Soyuz TMA-20 on launch pad Soyuz TMA-20 launch
Soyuz TMA-20 in orbit Soyuz TMA-20 landing
Soyuz TMA-20 landing Soyuz TMA-20 recovery


Last update on August 13, 2020.