Human Spaceflights

International Flight No. 244

Soyuz TMA-8



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Launch, orbit and landing data

Launch date:  30.03.2006
Launch time:  02:30:20.076 UTC
Launch site:  Baikonur
Launch pad:  1
Altitude:  334 - 350 km
Inclination:  51.63°
Docking ISS:  01.04.2006, 04:19:26 UTC
Undocking ISS:  28.09.2006, 21:53:09 UTC
Landing date:  29.09.2006
Landing time:  01:13:37 UTC
Landing site:  51° 02' 42" N, 67° 17' 58" E

walkout photo

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No.   Surname Given names Position Flight No. Duration Orbits
1  Vinogradov  Pavel Vladimirovich  Commander 2 182d 22h 43m 17s  2886 
2  Williams  Jeffrey Nels  Flight Engineer 2 182d 22h 43m 17s  2886 
3  Pontes  Marcos Cesar  Spaceflight Participant 1 9d 21h 16m 52s  155 

Crew seating arrangement

1  Vinogradov
2  Williams
3  Pontes
1  Vinogradov
2  Williams
3  Ansari

Backup Crew

No.   Surname Given names Position
1  Yurchikhin  Fyodor Nikolayevich  Commander
2  Fincke  Edward Michael "Mike"  Flight Engineer
3  Volkov  Sergei Aleksandrovich  Flight Engineer

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Launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome; landing 92 km north of Arkalyk.

Marcos Pontes became the first astronaut from Brazil. This mission carried out the ISS Expedition 13. Following a two day solo flight Soyuz TMA-8 docked to ISS on April 01, 2006. Pavel Vinogradov and Jeffrey Williams replaced the Expedition 12 crew.

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.


Marcos Pontes landed on April 08, 2006 at 23:47:12 UTC with Soyuz TMA-7 spacecraft.

Photos / Graphics


Last update on August 31, 2018.