Expedition 38

ISS Expedition 38 mission is the designation for the 38 long-term crew of the International Space Station ( ISS). The mission began with the uncoupling of the spaceship Soyuz TMA- 09M from the ISS on 10 November 2013. The end was marked by the uncoupling of Soyuz TMA -10M on 11 March 2014.

  • 2.1 freighter traffic
  • 2.2 orbital maneuvers
  • 2.3 spacewalks 2.3.1 1st exit
  • 2.3.2 2nd exit
  • 2.3.3 3rd exit
  • 2.3.4 4th exit


  • Oleg Kotov Valeryevich ( third space flight), Commander, ( Russia / Roscosmos ) ( Soyuz TMA -10M )
  • Sergei Nikolaevich Rjasanski ( first space flight ), flight engineer, ( Russia / Roscosmos ) ( Soyuz TMA -10M )
  • Michael Scott Hopkins ( first space flight), flight engineer, (USA / NASA) ( Soyuz TMA -10M )

Additionally, as of November 7, 2013:

  • Mikhail Tyurin Vladislavovich ( third space flight), flight engineer, ( Russia / Roscosmos ) ( Soyuz TMA -11M )
  • Richard Alan Mastracchio (4th space flight), flight engineer, (USA / NASA) ( Soyuz TMA -11M )
  • Koichi Wakata (4th space flight), flight engineer, ( Japan / JAXA ) ( Soyuz TMA -11M )

After undocking of Soyuz TMA -10M with Kotov, Rjazanski and Hopkins Wakata took command and, with Mastracchio and Tyurin the initial crew of the ISS Expedition 39

Backup crew

The backup crew of ISS Expedition recruited from the backup crews of the Soyuz shuttle respective spaceships ( see there). If everything is going according to plan, these teams two Soyuz missions and thus two ISS expeditions are then usually later for regular use.

Mission Description

During the expedition, 38 200 experiments were cared for and completed four spacewalks performed - two of which extraordinary - that ISS reached its 15th birthday and three cargo ships have been received, twice Progress and once Cygnus. In addition, a total of 37 microsatellites were transported by mass by 1 kg over a sluice from the ISS to the outside and then catapulted with a special starting device into space.

The experiments related to astronomy, atmospheric science, biology, materials science, medicine, physics and engineering. Part of it is attached to the outside and runs without interruption. Also a part of the experiments in the interior is largely automated and requires only once in the care of a spaceman, for example, to change the sample, for maintenance or for backing up data.

On November 19, Koichi Wakata had three small satellites that were previously arrived with the HTV Kounotori 4, after a brief review of their function outboard brought through the airlock of Kibo and catapulted away with a special device from the station. On November 20, followed by another satellite.

On December 12, problems with the cooling circuit A of the US-based segment of the International Space Station were reported. It was noted that the flow control valve, with which the flow of the refrigerant of the outer ammonia cooling circuit is controlled, is not functioning correctly. In order for the replacement of the pump module was required, for which there were three spare modules, which are mounted on Express Logistics modules or external storage platforms. The start of the second Cygnus Freighter meanwhile postponed to January 2014.

In the station a variety of biological, physical, medical and engineering studies were undertaken in the course of the mission. The latter included, among other things, the commissioning of a multi-gas monitor, which monitors the same time in real time, the concentrations of oxygen, water vapor, carbon dioxide and ammonia, and detects the temperature and air pressure. The measurement method is based on the excitation of the gas with laser light and detecting the resulting material by means of two photo-sensors typical radiation.

For years, small satellites are being tested aboard the ISS, which move by means of 12 compressed gas nozzles inside the station and may do this autonomously synchronize with each other ( SPHERES = Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites ). So they can link, for example, or moving in formation. In the near future more extension experiments are provided. In SPHERES - Inspire II it comes to additional computing capacity and sensors. This began in 2011 with the connection of a satellite with a smartphone. Well sensors will allow a precise positioning in the station and lift 2 cameras with the appropriate pattern recognition orientation in space to a new level.

For SPHERES - ring, the satellites were equipped with rings full of additional equipment. There are large coils, with which it should be possible that two satellites flying in formation, although one remains completely passive on the outside. A satellite is powered by means of compressed gas, whereas the forces are transferred to the second means of magnetic fields. In addition, one wants to use the same apparatus to non-contact transfer energy via electromagnetic alternating fields. In February, several series of experiments were completed to.

Finally, it should be found in SPHERES - Slosh which control commands are the best when you transport a fluid-filled tank. Here are resulting vibration and inertia movements are minimized as much as possible.

In the course of February 28 supplied by Cygnus freighter Flock -1 satellites have been left to the space by means of a special starter ( SSOD = Small Satellite Orbital Deployer ). Each of the satellites has dimensions of 10 x 10 x 30 centimeters and is externally provided with solar cells. In addition, each satellite has a camera and transmitter facilities with which images of the earth's surface can be made and transmitted to Earth. Flock to German as much as flock or swarm, will be a whole constellation of small satellites, which started at different times, spread over a wide area of the orbit in about 400 kilometers altitude at an inclination of nearly 52 degrees. This allows you to photograph each and every point of the earth between 52 degrees north and south latitude repeated at regular intervals.

The Flock constellation was initiated and built by the U.S. company Planet Labs and is intended to provide information about changes on our planet available worldwide. Each satellite produces images, stores them and sends the data back to Earth as soon as he flies over a ground station of the system. Here, the images are processed and made available on a server. On February 28, also 4 other small satellites for Lithuania, the U.S. and Peru were started in the same way.

In addition to the stated research program images of certain regions of the earth's surface were made repeatedly. With the decoupling of the spaceship Soyuz TMA - 10M ended on 11 March 2014, the ISS Expedition 38 The return was brought forward by one day to avoid the original landing area due to difficult weather conditions.

Freighter traffic

The supply ship Progress M - 21M had to be docked manually by the commander Oleg Kotov after some tests of new technologies ultimately, because the automatic coupling failed at about 60 meters distance.

At first it looked like a smooth run. The spacecraft approached determined the space station orbited this part in about 250 meters distance, in order to arrive at the correct position for the final approach. This it started at the right time and the Zvezda tail came within about 53 meters. The software then switched to the mode " hold position " to. When they had recognized this, Oleg Kotov took over from inside the station in control of the approaching spacecraft. For this there is a TORU for Телеоператорный Режим Управления ( German about as much as the control panel for remote operations ), with which you can control the operations of the spacecraft via two control lever similar to a computer game. With high precision took place then the coupling to 23.30 clock CET, only about 3 minutes later than planned.

The ship was launched from the Baikonur cosmodrome on November 25. He brought a total of 2.4 tonnes of cargo to the International Space Station, including 670 kg fuel, 420 kg of water, 300 kg Materials for scientific investigations, 187 kg of food, 178 kg Materials for NASA, 134 kg of equipment for Russian spaceman, 122 kg medical materials and other resources, equipment, spare parts, documentation and personal products, including Christmas and New Year's post for the astronauts.

On February 3, put the freighter Progress M - 20M on the station. With him several days were long done research on gravitationssatbilisierten attitudes before it burned up in dense layers of the atmosphere on February 11. Already on February 5, another cargo ship Progress M - 22M was launched and had docked about 6 hours later at the station. With him came around 2.5 tonnes of cargo on board.

On 18 February, the beginning of January launched and applied to the station transport spaceship Cygnus 2 (CRS -Orb -1) was loaded with trash from the ISS separated and sold by Canadarm2 in about 10 meters away. On February 19, here made ​​the final braking maneuver and the destructive re-entry into Earth's atmosphere.

Orbital maneuvers

On December 11, the sheet was lifted in preparation for the planned arrival of a cargo ship type Cygnus by a drive phase of almost 13 minutes by the engines of the coupled at the rear cargo ship Progress M - 21M to about 1.7 kilometers.

Another maneuver was executed on 18 January 2014. With the on-board thrusters at the stern of the Russian, docked since November 29, 2013 supply ship Progress M - 21M the putative reboost maneuver was performed to reboost the ISS. Reboosts are regularly required as the ISS loses due to the braking effect of the thin residual atmosphere per day between 80 and 150 meters altitude. The 520 seconds long lasting drive phase increased the speed of the ISS by about 1.18 meters per second and raised to the railway station around about 2 kilometers.

Originally, the orbit raising for the January 16, 2014 was planned but had to be postponed by space junk because of the risk of a potential collision. The shift meant that the station is not caught in a dangerous short distance to an old part of a U.S. missile -type delta in 2914, which had in 1977 the Japanese weather satellite GMS 1 aka Himawari 1 transported into space.


First exit

On December 21, 2013 Mastracchio and Hopkins began a spacewalk to prepare the replacement of a failed pump for the cooling system of the ISS. The work was so successful could be stowed that the pump is completely removed and safely. This was originally intended for another spacewalk, which could be saved with it.

2nd exit

The second departure of Rick Mastracchio and Michael Hopkins a replacement pump was installed in a cooling circuit of the International Space Station on December 24. In the course of more than 7 hours continuous outboard stay the new pump was from their storage location to the external storage platform 3 ( ESP) transported by means of manipulator to the site and placed in the intended position. After securing the pump module with the four bolts, the lines have been solved by a Überbrückungsbox and connected to the new pump. This was needed in one of the 4 hoses several attempts to release the shutter.

In addition, from one of the hoses came out of a small amount of solidified ammonia, so you before getting into the lock yet settled irradiate some time from all sides of the sun, with the ammonia should evaporate.

Meanwhile electrical connections have been completed and tested the device. Since the test was successful, the repair could be completed during the second use. The defective module needs to be brought from its current position on the mobile transporter for external storage platform 3. This task has been postponed to a later date.

3rd exit

On December 27, two cosmonauts have been working outside the International Space Station. The works also included the installation of two cameras of the Canadian company UrtheCast. The withdrawal began against 15 clock CET with leaving the Pirs airlock module, which is installed at the bottom of Zvezda. The main part of this time devoured the installation and test of two cameras in addition to transmission facilities of the Canadian company UrtheCast. According to data from the control center you did not receive the expected telemetry data. Although other sources, worked the high-resolution camera, the second with medium resolution but refused its office.

Finally got Oleg Kotov and Sergei Rjasanski the order to dismantle the cameras again and bring back to the station. Moreover, the electrical connections should be photographed on the platform installed a few weeks ago, movable about two axes, so that you can find out the cause of the failure of the technology.

Of the original tasks still remained some unfinished business. They dismantled the experiment Всплеск (rash [ a seismometer ] ), with which they had captured the impact of seismic activity on Earth on charged particles in their immediate environment and pushed the equipment into space. Instead, they installed a more sophisticated experiment with the name Сейсмопрогноз ( Seismoprognose ) with which you want to win, among other earthquake predictions due to changes in the plasma field of the earth.

The withdrawal lasted 8 hours and 7 minutes, and thus became the longest outboard stay of Russian cosmonauts before.

4th exit

On January 27, Oleg Kotov and Sergei Rjasanski installed on the outside of the station over the course of about six hours of exit ( 6:08 ) two cameras on behalf of the Canadian company UrtheCast. After a futile attempt at a past exit you now able to report success: both cameras work.