MANNED SPACEFLIGHT ALERT!!! SOYUZ TMA-13M (ISS39S) CREW POISED TO FLY WEDNESDAY.
Photo Credit & Copyright: ESA–S. Corvaja: CLICK photo for full size and see below for links and information.
On Wednesday, May 28, at 1956 UTC (1556 EDT & 0156 on the 29th Baikonur Time) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan a Soyuz-FG rocket; TMA-13M (ISS39S) will be lifting off from Launch Pad 1/Launcher 5 (LC 1/5). TMA-13M will carry three crew members of Expedition 40/41 to the International Space Station (ISS) on a four orbit, 6 hour fast-track launch to docking flight which began manned operations on TMA-08M on March 28, 2013. The crew will dock with the Russian Mini Research module-1 (MRM-1) Rassvet “Dawn” Module at 0148 UTC Thursday morning and that capsule will remain there for approximately 6 months as a crew escape vehicle.
BLUE DOT MISSION?
This mission is known as the “Blue Dot Mission.” The mission name and logo are inspired by an image of Earth taken by NASA’s Voyager spacecraft as it travelled six billion kilometres from our planet. Carl Sagan described our faintly visible planet on the photograph as a “Pale Blue Dot.”
During his 166-day Blue Dot mission, Alexander Gerst has an extensive scientific program planned. Running around 40 experiments in materials physics, human physiology, radiation biology, solar research, biotechnology, fluid physics, astrophysics and technology demonstrations. All experiments are designed to improve life on Earth and prepare further exploration projects.
SUPERSTISION & TRADITION:
Just some the seemingly endless tradition and superstition; Before leaving Star City near Moscow, the crew leaves red roses at the memorial wall which commemorates Gagarin and the 4 other fallen Russian cosmonauts. They also visit Gagarin’s office, sign his guest book and ask his ghost for permission to fly before heading to the Cosmonaut Hotel in Baikonur. Behind it, a road of trees planted by former crews. Before launch the crew will add their three trees as well.
The Soyuz rollout begins at 0700 Baikonur Time as it has done since the Gagarin Flight on April 12, 1961. The rollout is not allowed to be watched by the primary crew as it is considered bad luck. To help with good luck, technicians flatten coins on the tracks. The rocket will also be blessed by an Orthodox Priest before flight. Anointing the rocket began in 1994 at the request of cosmonaut Alexander Viktorenko before his TM-20 launch to MIR. One of the few traditions not started with Yuri. The main crew will, before flight, get a haircut and watch the 1969 movie “White Sun of the Desert.”
Suit up happens in a tiny room, on display relatively close to onlookers from behind glass. Before leaving the hotel for the launch pad the crew is blessed and they sip wine at breakfast. As they leave, they sign the door of their room. As they leave they are played the song, “The Green Grass Near My Home” which speaks of a cosmonauts love of Earth.
The bus, which has horseshoes on it makes a stop and the crew partakes in a tradition again, started by Gagarin himself; urination of the right rear wheel of the bus. When they finally reach the launch pad they are presented with the talisman in the form of a stuffed animal to be hung from inside the Soyuz capsule for the flight. Also, there are no launches on October 24. And that’s just for LAUNCH! Never mind the landing ritual.
They will be joining:
NASA astronaut and ISS Commander, Steven Swanson:
Flight Engineer, cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev:
Flight Engineer, cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov
This will fulfill Expedition 40 which began on May 13, 2014.
STREAM THE LAUNCH LIVE:
Live Streaming Feed (NASA TV): http://www.nasa.gov/ntv
NASA TV on Ustream: http://www.ustream.tv/nasahdtv
NASA TV on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/NASAtelevision
NASA TV on LiveStream: http://www.livestream.com/nasa
Live Streaming Feed (Tsenki): http://www.tsenki.com/en/broadcast/
Expedition 40 Mission Summary: http://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/files/NP-2014-05-006-JSC-Expedition-40-summary-final(1).pdf
NASA ISS expedition 40 crew: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/expeditions/expedition40/index.html
NASA ISS main mission page: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/main/index.html#.UkD9Q5vD9ok
NASA ISS Mission pages: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/multimedia/index.html
NASA ISS Photos (All the photos you will ever need from the ISS): http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/gallery/images/station/index.html
NASA “2 Explore” Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/nasa2explore/
NASA “HQ Photostream” Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/nasahqphoto/
NASA “Goddard” Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/gsfc/
Christopher Michael Flickr page with TMA-13M images: https://www.flickr.com/photos/cmichel67/sets/72157644439110850/
SPACEFLIGHT101 TMA-13M: http://www.spaceflight101.com/soyuz-tma-13m-mission-updates.html
NASA Spaceflight TMA-13M: http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=30940.45
Spaceflight 101 Soyuz FG: http://www.spaceflight101.com/soyuz-fg.html
Roscosmos homepage: http://www.federalspace.ru/
Russian Space Web: http://www.russianspaceweb.com/