Human Spaceflights

International Flight No. 302

Soyuz TMA-20M



Patch Soyuz TMA-20M Patch Soyuz TMA-20M

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Launch, orbit and landing data

Launch date:  18.03.2016
Launch time:  21:26:38.355 UTC
Launch site:  Baikonur
Launch pad:  1
Altitude:  402 - 406 km
Inclination:  51.64°
Docking ISS:  19.03.2016, 03:09:54 UTC
Undocking ISS:  06.09.2016, 21:51:31 UTC
Landing date:  07.09.2016
Landing time:  01:13:35.0 UTC
Landing site:  47°18'09.96" N, 69°38'41.52" E

walkout photo

Crew Soyuz TMA-20M

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alternative crew photo

alternative crew photo

alternative crew photo

alternative crew photo

alternative crew photo

alternative crew photo


No.   Surname Given names Position Flight No. Duration Orbits
1  Ovchinin  Aleksei Nikolaevich  Commander 1 172d 03h 46m 57s  2679 
2  Skripochka  Oleg Ivanovich  Flight Engineer 2 172d 03h 46m 57s  2679 
3  Williams  Jeffrey Nels  Flight Engineer 4 172d 03h 46m 57s  2679 

Crew seating arrangement

1  Ovchinin
2  Skripochka
3  Williams
Soyuz TMA spacecraft
1  Ovchinin
2  Skripochka
3  Williams

Backup Crew

No.   Surname Given names Position
1  Ryzhikov  Sergei Nikolaevich  Commander
2  Borisenko  Andrei Ivanovich  Flight Engineer
3  Kimbrough  Robert Shane  Flight Engineer
Crew Soyuz TMA-20M backup
Patch Soyuz TMA-20M backup

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Launch vehicle:  Soyuz-FG (No. 43M136S R15000-057)
Spacecraft:  Soyuz TMA-20M (TMA-M No. 720)


Launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome. ISS Expedition 47 / 48. Landing 155 km southeast of Dzheskasgan.

Following an only six-hours solo flight Soyuz TMA-20M docked to ISS on March 19, 2016. Aleksei Ovchinin, Oleg Skripochka and Jeffrey Williams became the ISS Expedition 47 (together with ISS Expedition 46 crew members Timothy Kopra, Yuri Malenchenko and Timothy Peake).

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 281 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
Soyuz TMA-20M integration Soyuz TMA-20M rollout
Soyuz TMA-20M erection Soyuz TMA-20M erection
Soyuz TMA-20M on the launch pad Soyuz TMA-20M launch
Soyuz TMA-20M launch Soyuz TMA-20M landing
Soyuz TMA-20M landing Soyuz TMA-20M landing
Soyuz TMA-20M recovery Soyuz TMA-20M recovery


Last update on March 29, 2020.