Soyuz TM-18

Soyuz TM -18 mission is the designation for the flight of a Russian Soyuz spaceship to the Russian space station Mir. It was the 18th visit of the Soyuz spacecraft with the Mir space station and the 94th flight in the Russian Sojusprogramm.


Start crew

  • Viktor Mikhailovich Afanasyev ( second space flight), Commander
  • Yuri Vladimirovich Usachyov ( first space flight), flight engineer
  • Valeri Vladimirovich Polyakov ( second space flight), ship's doctor

Backup crew

  • Yuri Ivanovich Malenchenko, Commander
  • Talgat Amangeldijewitsch Musabayev, Flight Engineer ( Kazakhstan )
  • German Semjonowitsch Arsamarow, ship's doctor

Return team

  • Viktor Mikhailovich Afanasyev ( second space flight), Commander
  • Yuri Vladimirovich Usachyov ( second space flight), flight engineer

Mission overview

Most studies of the new crew of the Mir space station were medical problems. Monitors were to a large extent by the physician Dr. Polyakov. He should set up with 14 months time in space, also a new long-term record.

The experiments related mainly to the diet, the function of the muscles, the cardiovascular system, the lungs and the immune system. Also changes in the blood and the nervous system have been analyzed. Examines and metabolic disorders were (red blood cells ), blood volume changes and the function of the vestibular system in the middle ear. This also was the experiment VOG (Video oculography ) used that came with the German mission in 1992 aboard the space station. The measured data were further directed by the Russian control center directly to Oberpfaffenhofen, where specialists could then influence the experiment. Another object of investigation was the calcium loss in the bones for longer stays in weightlessness. Is thus unknown whether the calcium degradation stops at a certain level. A loss of 20 % think scientists generally for life-threatening. To counteract the negative changes in muscle and bone tissue, the advanced vacuum pants KARKAS was used. With their blood is amplified sucked into the abdomen. This state is similar to the verursachtem by gravity on the earth increased blood volume in the abdomen. Were measured in the space station, the enlargement of the leg circumference, upper and lower blood pressure, the power of the heart ( ECG), the change in heart position in the chest and sounds of the blood stream. The two " guinea pigs" Afanasyev and Usachyov underwent this procedure on every third day.

Were examined further the sleeping habits of the cosmonauts and the coordination of perception and movement. For this, the spacemen were fixed on the ground, with the head and the arms remained free to move. A TV screen different visual stimuli were sent and recorded the reactions with four infrared cameras. The test results should apply also be significant for motor disturbances on Earth. When psychological experiment PSY mental and psychomotor performance of Valeri Polyakov was studied over a period of several months. We tested this reaction rate, short-term memory, attention and manual dexterity.

No Medical research has been carried out mainly in the field of materials science. So we examined the behavior of supercooled melts ( experiment TES). Eleven enclosed in a glass envelope per samples were first melted and then cooled considerably. By the absence of crystallization nuclei, the liquid state can be maintained well below the normal solidification temperature. As a function of temperature, the samples solidify with a different microstructure. The data of the experiment were analyzed using the developed in Austria and on board the station since 1991 DATAMIR system and transmitted to the ground. It controls the course of the experiment, taking the readings on, visualizes the results and sends them to the telemetry system of the space station. The possibility of mold on non-metallic materials has been investigated.

Great room took as an earth science, astrophysics and biotechnology. Thus, the multi-channel spectrometer MKS -M2 and FASA were used. Also hundreds of recordings were made from the Earth with the multispectral camera MKF - 6MA. Various apparatuses also the intensity of the particle and cosmic energy was determined in and around the station. From astronomical objects, especially X-ray and gamma radiation was measured. The assessment of the stability of the station complex served the experiment RESONANCE.

With the unmanned transport spaceship Progress M -21, a new camera-based control system was tested, which also operates when the navigation system course is not in function. About three cameras gets the flight engineer on the ground a complete picture of the approximation process and can dock the spacecraft via a hand control. Supplies and research materials gathered during the six-month mission also one with the transport spacecraft Progress M -22 and M -23. Soyuz TM -18 returned with the Astronauts Viktor Afanasyev and Yuri Usachyov on July 9, back to Earth. Valeri Polyakov, however, was integrated into the new crew.