Jump to content
This site uses cookies! Learn More

This site uses cookies!

You can find a list of those cookies here: mysite.com/cookies

By continuing to use this site, you agree to allow us to store cookies on your computer. :)


Ups and Downs for June

Recommended Posts



1970 Soyuz 9 launch

Crew: Andriyan Nikolayev (CDR); Vitali Sevastyanov (FE)


This was the first night launch in the history of manned spaceflight. It was also the last mission before the focus of the Soviet programme switched to space stations: for seventeen days the cosmonauts carried out Earth observation studies, astrophysical and technical experiments and physiological research. The flight also broke Gemini VII's duration record. Since his Vostok mission, Nikolayev had married cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova (a union probably arranged by Khrushchev) and the two communicated by radio and television links. The cosmonauts were off duty on Day 10 but as the flight progressed they found it more and more difficult to concentrate on their tasks.



2011 STS-134 landing

Crew: Mark Kelly (CDR); Gregory H. Johnson (P); Michael Fincke, Roberto Vittori [Italy], Andrew Feustel, Greg Chamitoff (MS)

Landing site: Kennedy Space Center


After a successful mission delivering supplies and equipment to the ISS, Endeavour flew back to Earth for the last time. The flight had lasted 15d 17h 38m and 249 orbits. The Orbiter, built to replace Challenger, had made 25 trips to space, completing 4,671 orbits and travelling nearly 197 million kilometres. Mission Commander Mark Kelly later said, "It's sad to see her land for the last time, but she really has a great legacy."



Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites



1998 STS-91 launch

Crew: Charles Precourt (CDR); Dom Gorie (P); Franklin Chang-Diaz, Wendy Lawrence, Janet Kavandi, Valeri Ryumin [Russia] (MS)


91st Shuttle mission; 24th flight of Discovery

Ninth and last Shuttle-Mir docking. Supplies and equipment were delivered when docking took place on Day Three and when the hatches were opened Mir resident Andy Thomas officially became a member of Discovery's crew: he would return to Earth aboard the Shuttle, bringing to an end American astronauts' stay aboard the station.



2010 Soyuz TMA-17 landing

Crew: Oleg Kotov (CDR); Soichi Noguchi [Japan], Timothy Creamer [USA] (FE)

Landing site: 47°18'45,66" N, 69°37'58,44" E (154 km southeast of Dzheskasgan)


This crew had been ISS Expeditions 22/23. Flight time was 163d 5h 33m; 2,574 orbits.



2017 Soyuz MS-03 landing

Crew: Oleg Novitsky (CDR); Thomas Pesquet [France] (FE)

Landing site: 47°27'10.92"N, 69°36'58.5"E (148 km southeast of Dzheskasgan)


Along with Peggy Whitson, the crew had been ISS Expeditions 50/51, Whitson agreed to remain on orbit for an additional three months so the spacecraft came down with a crew of two. Their flight time had been 196d 17h 50m and 3,061 orbits.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites



1965 Gemini IV launch

Crew: Jim McDivitt (CDR); Ed White (P)


For reasons which were never made clear, NASA switched to Roman numerals for the official Gemini flight designations with effect from the second manned mission. The original flight plan for what was now known as Gemini IV had included a stand-up EVA involving the pilot opening his hatch without leaving the protection of the spacecraft. After the Voskhod 2 mission, however, with Leonov’s pioneer spacewalk, NASA announced that a fully-fledged EVA would be carried out during the flight. Launch was delayed by seventy-six minutes because of difficulties in lowering the erector tower, but the flight eventually got under way with lift-off being televised live in Western Europe for the first time, via the Early Bird satellite. As Gemini IV headed for orbit, ground control switched to the new centre at Houston, another first. A little more than five minutes later the spacecraft was safely in orbit. Following separation from the launch vehicle, McDivitt turned Gemini around as the first step in an attempted rendezvous with the discarded second stage, which was then some 200m behind. This turned out to be more difficult than expected, since the Titan was tumbling slowly and was in a slightly different orbit from the capsule. McDivitt spent a good deal of time and effort (as well as forty percent of the fuel supply) trying to carry out the station-keeping, but finally Mission Control told the astronauts that enough was enough. White’s EVA had been scheduled for the second orbit, but it took longer than expected to get ready and it was delayed to the third. Finally the cabin was depressurised as Gemini passed over Hawaii and White opened up his hatch. At first he stood on the seat, his head poking through the hatchway, setting up a 16mm camera that would record his exploits for posterity. When he was sure that all was in order, including checking three times that the lens cap had been removed, White pushed himself off into free space. He was carrying a hand-held manoeuvring unit that pushed him in any desired direction by emitting spurts of oxygen from tiny thrusters, but found it easier to control his movements by tugging on his safety tether, which he later described as “like pulling a trout out of a stream on a light line”. Nobody knew quite what to expect as few details of Leonov’s EVA had been released by the Soviet authorities, but White appeared to be having an exhilarating experience and had to be ordered back in at the end. He spent 36m outside and the photographs of him rapidly came to symbolise the very concept of Man in space. White described having to climb back into the capsule as “the saddest moment of my life”. His pulse had remained steady at around 150 during the EVA, but it climbed to 178 as he was trying to shut the hatch afterwards: this involved trying to pull his safety tether inside the cabin, not an easy task since like everything else it was weightless.



1966 Gemini IX-A launch

Crew: Tom Stafford (CDR); Eugene Cernan (P)


The Gemini IX mission had already been delayed back in May when its Agena target failed to reach orbit. No backup Agena was available but this time there was an alternative: McDonnell-Douglas had built a vehicle known as the Augmented Target Docking Adapter, which consisted of a Gemini radar unit attached to the docking collar from an Agena. This would allow the astronauts to perform the docking manoeuvre, though it lacked the Agena main engine that would have pushed the combination up to a higher orbit than Gemini could reach on its own. For this reason the mission was redesignated Gemini IX-A. On 1 June the ATDA was sent into orbit while the Gemini crew awaited their turn—only for their own launch to be postponed when the on-board computer refused to accept guidance data. Stafford was no doubt getting used to it by now: this was his fourth scrub in five launch attempts. To add to NASA’s woes, telemetry appeared to indicate that the target’s payload shroud had failed to separate properly, though nobody could be sure. Two days later Gemini IX-A finally got away and when rendezvous was complete it was clear that the telemetry was correct: although the shroud had partially separated, the halves were still jammed in the way of the docking cone, held in place by the electrical wiring that had triggered the explosive bolts. Stafford likened it to “an angry alligator”. Mission Control refused permission for the astronauts to attempt to prise open the shroud halves with the Gemini’s nose and the docking was abandoned, though two unscheduled rendezvous manoeuvres were carried out instead. The next day Cernan performed an EVA during which he should have tested an Astronaut Manoeuvring Unit, forerunner of the MMU later to be used on the Space Shuttle, which had been stowed inside the open end of the Equipment Module. But the crew’s problems were far from over: Cernan was finding the work programme too demanding and had difficulty in maintaining his orientation. When he moved to the rear of the spacecraft to power up the AMU, his suit temperature began to rise and his helmet visor fogged up. Stafford finally called a halt when Cernan was unable to unfold one of the armrest control units and ordered him to return to the cabin. The EVA had lasted 2h 9m.



1980 Soyuz 35 landing

Crew: Valeri Kubasov (CDR); Bertalan Farkas [Hungary] (RC)

Landing site: 180 km SE of Dzheskasgan


Kubasov and Farkas had been launched aboard Soyuz 36 a week earlier but had exchanged their spacecraft for the older Soyuz 35, which had been docked to Salyut 6 since early April. This allowed the resident crew of Popov and Ryumin to remain aloft beyond the 'shelf life' of their original craft. These Taxi Flights would become increasingly common as the Salyut and Mir programmes unfolded. Kubasov and Farkas had been in space for 7d 20h 46m and made 124 orbits.



2018 Soyuz MS-07 landing

Crew: Anton Shkaplerov (CDR); Scott Tingle [USA], Norishige Kanai [Japan] (FE)

Landing site: 47°20'04.8"N, 69°40'21.66''E (156 km southeast of Dzheskasgan)


ISS Expeditions 54/55. Flight time was 168d 5h 18m and 2,688 orbits.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites



1971 Soyuz 11 prime crew dropped


With just two days to go before launch, there is major doubt about which crew will fly Soyuz 11, the second attempt to put a crew aboard Salyut 1. (Soyuz 10 managed to dock but was unable to achieve an airtight seal meaning the cosmonauts could not board.) The prime crew is Alexei Leonov, Valeri Kubasov and Pyotr Kolodin. However medics have discovered a swelling on Kubasov's right lung and it is feared he may be developing tuberculosis. One suggestion is to replace him with his backup, Vladislav Volkov, but the Chief Designer Vasili Mishin (successor of Korolev) wants the entire crew replaced. Ultimately a State Commission meeting accepts his recommendation and at a press conference the Soyuz 11 crew is announced as Georgi Dobrovolsky, Volkov and Viktor Patsayev. 


The Soyuz 11 crew would perish during re-entry due to a faulty valve depressurising the cabin. It would later be discovered that Kubasov was allergic to a chemical insecticide used to spray trees.




1974 Shuttle Orbiter assembly begins


At the Rockwell International plant in Palmdale, California, construction begins on Space Shuttle Orbiters OV-101 and OV-102. They will ultimately be christened Enterprise and Columbia.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites



1980 Soyuz T-2 launch

Crew: Yuri Malyshev (CDR); Vladimir Aksyonov (FE)


This was the first manned flight of the Soyuz-T spacecraft, the upgraded version which would be the backbone of the Salyut programme. Though designed to carry three cosmonauts for the first time since the Soyuz 11 accident, this flight had the normal crew of two. Docking with Salyut 6 took place the day after launch, though this had to be conducted manually as the computer failed. The cosmonauts joined the Expedition 4 team but remained aboard Salyut for only two days: the mission's primary objective was, after all, to test the new spacecraft.



1991 STS-40 launch

Crew: Bryan O'Connor (CDR); Sid Gutierrez (P); James Bagian, Tamara Jernigan, Rhea Seddon (MS); Drew Gaffney, Millie Hughes-Fulford (PS)


41st Shuttle mission; 11th flight of Columbia

Carried the Spacelab Life Sciences 1 laboratory, exploring how the heart, blood vessels, lungs, kidneys and hormone-secreting glands respond to microgravity, the causes of space sickness and changes in muscles, bones and cells in the environment of space flight and in the readjustment to gravity upon returning to Earth. 



2002 STS-111 launch

Crew: Ken Cockrell (CDR); Paul Lockhart (P); Philippe Perrin [France], Franklin Chang-Diaz, Peggy Whitson, Valeri Korzun, Sergei Treshchyov [both Russia] (MS)


110th Shuttle mission; 18th flight of Endeavour

Primary objective was ISS crew rotation: Whitson, Korzun and Treshchyov would remain aboard the station as Expedition 5, while the retiring Expedition 4 team would return to Earth after their six-month stint. The Italian-built Multi-Purpose Logistics Module Leonardo was making its third flight (fifth flight overall of the MPLM as the Raffaello module had flown twice): it was temporarily berthed to the ISS then retrieved before Endeavour departed. Three EVAs were conducted, all by Chang-Diaz and Perrin:


(1) 9 June; 7h 14m. A Power and Data Grapple fixture for the station's manipulator arm was attached to the P6 truss and six micrometeoroid shields were temporarily installed. Chang-Diaz also inspected one of the station's gyroscopes which had failed a day or so earlier.

(2) 11 June; 5h. Power, data and video lines were hooked up to the Mobile Base System, which had been manoeuvred into position by Peggy Whitson using the Orbiter's manipulator arm. This would enable the ISS's own arm to move along the truss like an inchworm to wherever it might be required.

(3) 13 June; 7h 17m. A faulty wrist joint on the ISS's arm was replaced with a new one. All of the arm's joints are designed to be replaceable: the old one was secured in the Orbiter's payload bay for return to Earth.

Total EVA time for both men was 19h 31m.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites



1966 Gemini IX-A splashdown

Crew: Tom Stafford (CDR); Eugene Cernan (P)

Splashdown site: 27° 52' N, 75° 0,4' W (Atlantic Ocean, 500 km east of Cape Kennedy)


The Gemini IX-A mission had not been a success: though the spacecraft succeeded in rendezvousing with the backup target, docking was not possible because the payload shroud had failed to separate. Gene Cernan's EVA had to be curtailed when he became dangerously overheated and the test-flight of the Astronaut Maneuvering Unit never took place. However splashdown was only 3km from the recovery ship, the USS Wasp, which allowed it to be seen live on television. Flight time was 3d 0h 21m, 45 orbits.




1971 Soyuz 11 launch

Crew: Georgi Dobrovolsky (CDR); Vladislav Volkov (FE); Viktor Patsayev (TE)


Having been drafted in to replace the prime crew only two days earlier, the Soyuz 11 cosmonauts were launched towards Salyut 1, docking the following day. There was no repetition of the problem experienced on Soyuz 10, when the crew were unable to achieve an airtight seal, and the cosmonauts moved aboard the station to begin a three-week stay. Coverage of the crew's activities, which included astronomical and medical research, was reported daily on Soviet television and to many the cosmonauts became as well-known as family members. All of this would make the mission's tragic end so much harder to accept.



1979 Soyuz 34 launch

Crew: none


The failure of Soyuz 33 to reach Salyut 6 had left the authorities with a problem. The plan had been for the joint Soviet-Bulgarian to return to Earth aboard the Soyuz 32 capsule, leaving their fresher craft for use by the Expedition 3 crew. Now Lyakhov and Ryumin were stuck with an ageing capsule that would exceed its 'shelf life' before they were due to return. The upcoming Soviet-Hungarian mission was postponed and Soyuz 34, with its engine redesigned to eliminate the fault that caused the rendezvous failure, was launched unmanned. Soyuz 32, with an engine of the original design, could then land empty with no risk to life and limb. Thus Soyuz 34 docked with Salyut 6 on 9 June, providing the Salyut crew with a reliable ride home.



1985 Soyuz T-13 launch

Crew: Vladimir Dzhanibekov (CDR); Viktor Savinykh (FE)


Salyut 7 Expedition 4. The station had been vacant for eight months and was drifting uncontrolled, its solar arrays pointing at random. Dzhanibekov carried out a manual docking and the cosmonauts boarded the station wearing winter clothing as the temperature was very low. Using the Soyuz attitude control system, the station was turned so that its solar arrays could pick up sunlight and charge up the batteries. On 2 August the cosmonauts carried out a difficult EVA to attach extension panels to the solar arrays, increasing the available electrical power. This lasted 4h 58m.



1999 STS-96 landing

Crew: Kent Rominger (CDR); Rick Husband (P); Tamara Jernigan, Ellen Ochoa, Daniel Barry, Julie Payette [Canada], Valeri Tokarev [Russia] (MS)

Landing site: Kennedy Space Center


This mission had delivered supplies and equipment to the still-vacant ISS. Flight time was 9d 19h 13m; 153 orbits.



2018 Soyuz MS-09 launch

Crew: Sergei Prokopyev (CDR); Alexander Gerst [Germany], Serena Auñón-Chancellor [USA] (FE)


ISS Expeditions 56/57. Docking was achieved on 8 June and the crew joined Artemyev, Feustel and Arnold who had been aboard since March. Ultimately their mission would be extended slightly because of the in-flight abort of Soyuz MS-10 and the delay in sending a new crew to take over. Two EVAs would be carried out by Prokopyev:


(1) 15 August, with Artemyev of Soyuz MS-08 (7h 46m) - Deployed four microsatellites, installed antennas and cables and retrieved external experiment packages

(2) 11 December, with Kononenko of Soyuz MS-11 (7h 45m) - Examined the external hull of Soyuz MS-09 after a small hole was discovered in the Orbital Module.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites



1965 Gemini IV splashdown

Crew: Jim McDivitt (CDR); Ed White (P)

Splashdown point:  27° 44' N, 74° 11' W (650 km southwest of Bermuda)


White had carried out the US's first EVA which had been highly successful but a computer failure prior to re-entry resulted in the spacecraft landing some 80km short of the target. However the recovery fleet was already on its way and the astronauts were soon picked up by the USS Wasp. Flight time was 4d 1h 56m, 62 orbits.



1988 Soyuz TM-5 launch

Crew: Anatoli Solovyov (CDR); Viktor Savinykh (FE); Aleksandr Aleksandrov [Bulgaria] (RC)


This was the only Mir Taxi Flight: improved techniques meant that spacecraft could remain on orbit for longer so there was less need to exchange capsules part-way through prolonged expeditions. Docking took place on 9 June and the cosmonauts teamed up with the Expedition 3 crew. Aleksandrov became the first Bulgarian to reach a space station, his compatriot Georgi Ivanov having been on the Soyuz 33 mission which suffered a propulsion failure and had to return to Earth.



2011 Soyuz TMA-02M launch

Crew: Sergei Volkov (CDR); Satoshi Furukawa [Japan], Mike Fossum [USA] (FE)


ISS Expeditions 28/29. Docking took place two days after launch and the crew joined the current residents Samokutyayev, Borisenko and Garan. Two EVAs were conducted by members of this crew:


(1) 12 July, Fossum and Garan, 6h 31m. A failed ammonia pump was transferred to the cargo bay of Atlantis, currently docked with the ISS on the very last Shuttle mission.

(2) 3 August, Volkov and Samokutyayev, 6h 23m. A small crane was moved to a new location and a materials science experiment installed.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites



2007 STS-117 launch

Crew: Frederick Sturckow (CDR); Lee Archambault (P); Patrick Forrester, Steven Swanson, John Olivas, James, Reilly, Clayton Anderson (MS)


118th Shuttle mission; 28th flight of Atlantis

Launch was originally scheduled for mid-March but the Shuttle was struck by a fierce hailstorm on 26 February, which caused significant damage to the foam insulation on the External Tank. The stack had to be rolled back to the VAB for repairs and the mission was delayed by three months, which resulted in major changes to the launch manifest as several of the following flights had to wait until Atlantis had delivered the S3/S4 truss to the ISS. Docking with the station was finally achieved on 10 June and the assembly work began. Four EVAs were conducted, one of them unplanned:


(1) 11 June, Reilly and Olivas (6h 15m) - The truss and a new set of solar arrays were installed on the ISS: these were deployed the following day, unfolding the panels in stages to allow the Sun to warm them and prevent sticking.

(2) 13 June, Forrester and Swanson (7h 16m) - Preparation of the Solar Alpha Rotary Joint between the S3 and S4 truss segments. Here a major problem arose when it was discovered that the motor control circuits had been wired in reverse so one launch lock restraint was left in place meantime

(3) 15 June, Reilly and Olivas (7h 58m) - Prepared the P6 truss segment for its transfer to its permanent location by retracting the solar arrays. The actual relocation of the truss would be carried out on STS-120.

(4) 17 June, Forrester and Swanson (6h 29m) - The problem with the SARJ had been resolved and the lock restraints were removed. 

Total EVA time for Reilly and Olivas was 14h 13m; for Forrester and Swanson, 13h 45m.


On 16 June Sunita Williams, now officially part of the STS-117 crew as her place on the ISS was being taken by Clayton Anderson, broke the record for the longest single flight by a female, previously held by Shannon Lucid. By coincidence this took place on the 44th anniversary of the launch of Vostok 6, carrying the first female cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova.


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites



1980 Soyuz T-2 landing

Crew: Yuri Malyshev (CDR); Vladimir Aksyonov (FE)

Landing site: 200 km SE of Dzheskasgan


Discounting failed missions that were curtailed, this had been one of the shortest Soviet flights for years. Its primary purpose had been to evaluate the new Soyuz-T version of the spacecraft which, when it became operational, would allow a return to the days of three-man crews, not possible since the Soyuz 11 tragedy. Malyshev and Aksyonov had paid a brief visit to Salyut 6, departing less than three days after arrival. Clearly any scientific work aboard the station had been of secondary importance. The flight lasted just 3d 22h 20m, 62 orbits.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites



1969 MOL programme cancelled


The Manned Orbiting Laboratory was a US Air Force project involving a cylindrical space station module attached to a modified Gemini capsule, in which two astronauts would live and work for up to forty days. Its primary function would have been military observation, but successive delays kept pushing the first flight further into the future and finally after just one unmanned test launch the programme was cancelled. Advances in technology meant that unmanned satellites could carry out a similar function at far less cost. The Air Force had recruited three groups of astronauts, and NASA offered those under the age of 35 the chance to transfer. Seven of them did and all would eventually fly on the Space Shuttle; the others returned to normal active service.


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites



1985 Vega 1 Venus probe


As the Soviet Vega 1 probe bypassed Venus on the way to intercept Halley's Comet, the lander jettisoned two days earlier began atmospheric entry. Its scientific payload included an ultraviolet spectrometer, temperature and pressure sensors, a water concentration meter, a gas-phase chromatograph, an X-ray spectrometer, a mass spectrometer, and a surface sampling device. Since the probe made a nighttime landing, no photographs were taken. The lander successfully touched down at 7.2°N 177.8°E in the Mermaid Plain north of Aphrodite Terra. Due to excessive turbulence, some surface experiments were inadvertently activated 20km above the surface. Only the mass spectrometer was able to return data.




2013 Shenzhou X launch

Crew: Nie Haisheng (CDR); Zhang Xiaoguang, Wang Yaping (Op)


Tiangong-1 Expedition 2

Docking was achieved two days after launch and the crew began a ten-day programme of scientific experiments. Wang Yaping was China's second female taikonaut.



2015 Soyuz TMA-15M landing

Crew: Anton Shkaplerov (CDR); Samantha Cristoforetti [Italy], Terry Virts (FE)

Landing site: 47°19'51"N, 69°45'19"E (162 km southeast of Dzheskasgan)


ISS Expeditions 42/43. Flight time was 199d 16h 43m and 3,107 orbits. Cristoforetti set a single-flight duration record for a female astronaut (since broken by Peggy Whitson) but still holds the record for a non-Russian or American of either sex.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites



1963 MA-10 officially cancelled


MA-10 was originally planned to be the first one-day Mercury flight. This objective was later assigned to MA-9 and MA-10 then became the second one-day flight. Later there was budgetary pressure to shut down Mercury and move funds and workers to the Gemini program. NASA and the Mercury managers had to decide whether to undertake another flight after Cooper's planned 22 orbit MA-9, known as Faith 7. By May 11, 1963 Julian Scheer, the new NASA Deputy Assistant Administrator for Public Affairs, announced 'It is absolutely beyond question that if this shot (MA-9) is successful there will be no MA-10.' But at the end of Cooper's flight there was enough oxygen remaining for five days, six days left until his capsule decayed from orbit, and enough attitude control propellant for another two days. Several people including Alan Shepard pushed for a three to six day MA-10 mission. This would give America the manned space duration record for the first time and also cover the biological objectives of the first two Gemini missions. The Mercury 15B capsule had already been modified for long-duration flight and Shepard had the name Freedom 7 II painted on the side. But the risk and work pending on Gemini persuaded NASA managers not to undertake another mission unless MA-9 failed. The massive breakdown of nearly all systems aboard MA-9 convinced NASA that this was the right decision. Their risk assessment was also influenced by Martin Caidin's novel, Marooned. In the book, MA-10's retrorockets fail, stranding astronaut Pruett in orbit. He is saved by the combined efforts of NASA Gemini and Russian modified Vostok spacecraft. Such resources were not available in real life. On June 12 NASA administrator James Webb told Congress that there would be no MA-10 mission. It would have only cost $9 million to fly the mission, but deleting it freed up 700 workers to concentrate on project Gemini, which was behind schedule and over budget. On June 13 McDonnell's remaining contract work for Mercury was terminated.




1998 STS-91 landing

Crew: Charles Precourt (CDR); Dom Gorie (P); Franklin Chang-Diaz, Wendy Lawrence, Janet Kavandi, Valeri Ryumin [Russia], Andy Thomas (MS)

Landing site: Kennedy Space Center


This had been the ninth and last Shuttle-Mir docking. Andy Thomas, resident aboard the station since January, came home aboard Discovery: there would be no further American presence on Mir. His flight time had been 140d 15h 12m and 2,213 orbits. The other crew members had been in space for 9d 19h 54m and 155 orbits.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites



1942 First launch of the A-4


At Peenemünde on the Baltic Sea island of Usedom, the missile which would ultimately become known as the V-2 was launched for the first time. However, one of the gyroscopes failed immediately and the rocket began an uncontrollable roll. After 36 seconds a propellant line failed and the missile fell into the sea and exploded.




1979 Soyuz 32 landing

Crew: none

Landing site: 295 km NW of Dzheskasgan


Soyuz 32 had been launched on 25 February carrying Lyakhov and Ryumin as Salyut 6 Expedition 3, but the anticipated spacecraft exchange with Soyuz 33 did not take place when the newer capsule suffered a propulsion failure that prevented it reaching the station. As Soyuz 32's engine was of the same suspect design, the decision was taken to launch an unmanned replacement craft, with a modified engine, to dock automatically and provide the cosmonauts with a safe ride home. Soyuz 32 could then be brought down without a crew, avoiding any risk. In the event the re-entry and landing went off without a hitch, the spacecraft bringing down 130 kg of replaced instruments, processed materials, exposed film and other items with a total weight equal to that of the two cosmonauts. 

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites



1963 Vostok 5 launch

Pilot: Valeri Bykovsky


Launch was delayed several times, not only for technical reasons but also due to heightened solar flare activity. When the spacecraft was finally launched, it ended up in an orbit lower than planned which meant that the eight-day flight that was intended had to be cut short. Solar activity had caused the Earth's atmosphere to expand, resulting in increased drag on the spacecraft. Additionally problems with the waste management system made conditions aboard "unpleasant".



1991 STS-40 landing

Crew: Bryan O'Connor (CDR); Sid Gutierrez (P); James Bagian, Tamara Jernigan, Rhea Seddon (MS); Drew Gaffney, Millie Hughes-Fulford (PS)

Landing site: Edwards AFB


This had been the Spacelab Life Sciences mission (SLS-1), carrying out extensive biomedical research. Flight time was 9d 2h 14m; 146 orbits.



2008 STS-124 landing

Crew: Mark Kelly (CDR); Kenneth Ham (P); Karen Nyberg, Ron Garan, Michael Fossum, Akihiko Hoshide [Japan], Garrett Reisman (MS)

Landing site: Kennedy Space Center


The flight delivered the Kibo Module to the ISS, part of Japan's contribution to the station. This was the pressurised workshop; the exposed pallets would follow on later missions. A partial crew exchange also took place, with Garrett Reisman returning to Earth in place of Greg Chamitoff. Reisman's flight time as part of Expeditions 16/17 was 95d 8h 47m and 1,501 orbits; that of the remainder of the Shuttle crew was 13d 18h 13m. 217 orbits.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites



1978 Soyuz 29 launch

Crew: Vladimir Kovalyonok (CDR); Aleksandr Ivanchenkov (FE)


Salyut 6 Expedition 2. Docking took place the day after launch and the cosmonauts brought the station out of its mothballed state and began a planned four-month stay. One EVA was conducted, on 29 July, lasting 2h 5m, during which experiments and tools were retrieved from Salyut's exterior. During orbital night the cosmonauts took a break, and witnessed a meteor burning up in the atmosphere. Then as they were bringing the EVA to an end they took time out to admire the beauty of Australia's Great Barrier Reef. Afterwards the air vented out into space was 'topped up' with supplies from the Progress 2 freighter.



2000 Soyuz TM-30 landing

Crew: Sergei Zalyotin (CDR); Aleksandr Kaleri (FE)

Landing site: 49° 54' N, 67° 12' E (44 km southsoutheast of Arkalyk)


Mir Expedition 28. Flight time was 72d 19h 42m; 1,145 orbits



2010 Soyuz TMA-19 launch

Crew: Fyodor Yurchikhin (CDR); Shannon Walker, Douglas Wheelock [both USA] (FE)


ISS Expeditions 24/25. Docking achieved on 17 June; the crew joined Skvortsov, Korniyenko and Caldwell-Dyson aboard the station. Five EVAs were carried out by members of this crew:


(1) 27 July; Yurchikhin and Korniyenko (6h 42m) - Prepared the recently-delivered Rassvet Module for future automated dockings

(2) 7 August: Wheelock and Caldwell-Dyson (8h 3m) - Disconnected umbilicals from a broken coolant pump

(3) 11 August: Wheelock and Caldwell-Dyson (7h 26m) - Removed the old pump and stowed it on an attachment bracket

(4) 16 August: Wheelock and Caldwell-Dyson (7h 20m) - Installation of the replacement pump

(5) 15 November; Yurchikhin and Skripochka (6h 27m) - Installation of a work station on the exterior of the Zvezda module


Yurchikhin's total time on his two EVAs was 13h 9m; Wheelock and Caldwell-Dyson on their three, 22h 49m

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites



1963 Vostok 6 launch

Pilot: Valentina Tereshkova


Following the launch of Vostok 5 two days earlier, Western observers expected a second lift-off to follow soon: the Soviets had already flown a joint mission and anything less would be seen as a backward step. Thus it was no surprise when Vostok 6 was launched. Once the capsule had reached orbit safely, however, the Soviets made their shock announcement: the pilot was a woman. Valentina Tereshkova was 26 years old and at the time of Gagarin’s pioneer orbit she had been a worker in a cotton mill in her home town of Yaroslavl, 250km north-east of Moscow. Her sole qualification for becoming a cosmonaut was that she was an amateur parachutist, but propaganda and politics still controlled the Soviet space effort and Khrushchev wanted to put a woman in orbit. Tereshkova was selected from a shortlist of four candidates, and as there was no intention to fly any more female cosmonauts the other three returned to their normal lives after the mission. There are conflicting reports about Tereskhova’s experiences during the flight: one story claims that, like Titov, she suffered from space-sickness and even panicked at one point, while another school of thought holds that the mission went so well that it was extended beyond the planned duration of one day. Whatever the truth, Vostok 6 arrived in orbit just 5km from its sister ship, though again the pilot was powerless to reduce this range and the distance between the two spacecraft gradually increased over the next three days. If Tereshkova had indeed been sick, she was far from the only space traveller to suffer this fate; there is less evidence that she panicked and this must be put down to exaggeration. Either way she soon recovered enough to talk to Khrushchev and describe her view. During the mission she filmed cities, forests, and rivers, but didn't complete the biological experiment - she couldn't reach the equipment. Star observations were also performed and she took two photometric measurements, even writing was no problem. Data was collected on the female body's reaction to spaceflight. Like other cosmonauts on Vostok missions, she maintained a flight log, took photographs, and manually oriented the spacecraft.



2012 Shenzhou IX launch

Crew: Jing Haipeng (CDR); Liu Wang, Liu Yang (Op)


Tiangong-1 Expedition 1. Liu Yang was the first female taikonaut, 49 years to the day after Tereshkova. An automatic docking was achieved on 18 June, though later in the mission the crew would board the spacecraft and separate, to allow Liu Wang to carry out a manual docking.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites



1985 STS-51G launch

Crew: Daniel Brandenstein (CDR); John Creighton (P); John Fabian, Steve Nagel, Shannon Lucid (MS); Sultan bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud [Saudi Arabia], Patrick Baudry [France] (PS)


18th Shuttle mission; Fifth flight of Discovery

Three comsats were deployed on this mission: Arabsat 1B, Morelos 1 and Telstar 3D. Al-Saud was a member of the Saudi Arabian Royal Family, but a qualified pilot in his own right so this was far from a publicity stunt, though he was not involved in the deployment of Arabsat.



1988 Soyuz TM-4 landing

Crew: Anatoli Solovyov (CDR); Viktor Savinykh (FE); Aleksandr Aleksandrov [Bulgaria] (RC)

Landing site: 202 km SE of Dzheskasgan


The Soyuz TM-4 spacecraft was launched just before Christmas 1987 and two of its crew were halfway through a marathon year-long mission aboard Mir. On its return to Earth it was occupied by the TM-5 crew, who had made the first of two Taxi Flights that would be conducted during Expedition 3. Flight time was 9d 20h 9m and 156 orbits.


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Create New...