Expedition 31

ISS Expedition 31 mission is the designation for the 31 long-term crew of the International Space Station ( ISS). The mission began with the uncoupling of the spaceship Soyuz TMA -22 from the ISS on 27 April 2012 8:15 UTC. The end was marked by the uncoupling of Soyuz TMA- 03M on July 1, 2012 4:47 UTC.

  • 2.1 The first Dragon capsule to the ISS
  • 2.2 Transit of Venus and Mission Statements


  • Oleg Dmitrievich Kononenko ( 2nd space flight), Commander, ( Russia / Roscosmos ) ( Soyuz TMA- 03M )
  • André Kuipers ( second space flight ), flight engineer, (The Netherlands, ESA) ( Soyuz TMA- 03M )
  • Donald Roy Pettit ( third space flight), flight engineer, (USA / NASA) ( Soyuz TMA- 03M )

Addition, from May 17, 2012

  • Gennady Ivanovich Padalka (4th space flight), flight engineer, ( Russia / Roscosmos ) ( Soyuz TMA- 04M )
  • Sergei Nikolaevich Rewin ( first space flight ), flight engineer, ( Russia / Roscosmos ) ( Soyuz TMA- 04M )
  • Joseph Michael Acaba ( second space flight), flight engineer, (USA / NASA) ( Soyuz TMA- 04M )

After undocking of Soyuz TMA- 03M with Kononenko, Kuipers and Pettit Padalka took command and formed with Rewin and Acaba the initial crew of the ISS Expedition 32

Backup crew

The backup crew of ISS Expedition recruited from the backup crews of the Soyuz shuttle respective spaceships ( see there). These teams then came two Soyuz missions and thus two ISS expeditions later for regular use.

Mission Description

After the return of the command module of the spacecraft Soyuz TMA -22 to Earth, the three -headed at this time crew of the International Space Station dealt mainly with routine tasks, maintenance tasks and biomedical research. On May 15, the gain was launched to the ISS and docked two days later.

The research program included a total of 200 studies that were in various stages of implementation. A part of the experiments is mounted outboard and is fully automatic and requires no care. Thus, different material samples are subjected to the conditions of space and recovered only after months and transported back to Earth. Other measuring complexes automatically collect data and transmit them to the periods referred to ground stations. Inside, there are also a number automatically running experiments that have only maintenance purposes or are cared for sample changing.

The extensive program included studies in the fields of medicine, biology, physics, materials science, astronomy / cosmology, technology and a whole series of experiments with educational character. So it was possible with the Night Pod Nodding Mechanism ( ESA), uncomplicated nachzuführen a camera through a concerted pitch motion even at low light targets on the night side of the Earth so that sharp photographs are made. The camera was temporarily installed in Cupola and can be used by students with. A similar goal is pursued by the projects EarthKAM and ISS Agricultural Camera in Destiny (NASA). In the latter mainly agricultural and forestry areas used to be targeted and included the images obtained in the classroom.

In the experiment 2D Nano Template ( JAXA ) two-dimensional templates were produced in the nanometer range, which are regularly without buoyancy, convection and sedimentation, and particularly in medical research on Earth may apply. Research is being conducted for example, compound semiconductor (Alloy Semiconductor), the biorhythms of man, the detection of gene mutations by radiation and other conditions in space ( Hair) or the long-term acquisition of X-ray sources in space ( MAXI ).

With IServ (NASA) and visor ( Roskosmos ) two automatic systems are used or tested, which come with a private orientation system and thus automatically make images at overflight previously stated goals. Here also the lighting conditions and different focal lengths are considered and tracked the recording technique accordingly.

As part of the project Nanorack different payloads were tested under space conditions. Here it came, inexpensive and timely to implement research projects from industry. Thus, tissue or material samples are stored, tested everyday devices for their suitability for use in space vehicles or implements educational projects. The Nano racks came with the first Dragon capsule to the ISS in May as part of a testing mission successfully was heading the station. Unfortunately, it failed to activate the experiments so that they practically unused returned to the earth.

The first Dragon capsule to the ISS

On May 22, 2012, the above-mentioned private spaceship Dragon launched as part of the C2 demo mission to the ISS. After a series of tests and maneuvers, the Dragon spacecraft approached on the fourth day of the mission up to ten meters to the ISS. It was then captured with the manipulator arm Canadarm2, the space station and to the Free Nadir coupling site of the U.S. Harmony module. This process was controlled by the astronaut Donald Pettit and Andre Kuipers of Cupola from.

The ship transported 460 kg load ( 520 kg with transport packaging ) to the ISS and was charged for the return flight with more than 600 kg of waste and unneeded equipment. On 31 May 2012, the Dragon spacecraft was again separated from the space station, took place after the re-entry into Earth's atmosphere at 15:42 UTC clock the splashdown of the return capsule off the coast of Baja California.

Venus Transit and Mission Statements

On June 5, pictures of the transit of Venus were made from aboard the ISS. In a transit passes by an inner planet between Earth and Sun, so that a part of the sun's surface as seen from the Earth, covered. It also studies can be employed for planetary atmosphere. Such transit is a relatively rare astronomical event.

After further research, the 31 ISS Expedition with decoupling and landing of Soyuz TMA- 03M with Oleg Kononjenko, Don Pettit and Andre Kuipers ended on 1 July 2012.