Soyuz TM-20

Soyuz TM -20 mission is the designation for the flight of a Russian Soyuz spaceship to the Russian space station Mir. It was the 20th visit of the Soyuz spacecraft with the Mir space station and the 96th flight in the Russian Sojusprogramm.


Start crew

  • Alexander Stepanovich Viktorenko (4th space flight), Commander
  • Yelena Vladimirovna Kondakova ( first space flight ), aircraft engineer
  • Ulf Merbold ( third space flight ), science Cosmonaut ( European Space Agency ESA / Germany Germany )

Backup crew

  • Yuri Pavlovich Gidzenko, commander
  • Sergei Vasilyevich Avdeev, Flight Engineer
  • Pedro Francisco Duque, Science Cosmonaut ( European Space Agency ESA / Spain )

Return team

  • Alexander Stepanovich Viktorenko (4th space flight), Commander
  • Yelena Vladimirovna Kondakova ( first space flight ), aircraft engineer
  • Valeri Vladimirovich Polyakov ( second space flight), ship's doctor

Mission overview

Ten kilograms of Ulf Merbold month Euromir were taken 94 expedition. During the automatic approach maneuver to the front piece of the spaceship I came into a tailspin. The commander Alexander Viktorenko then docked the ship manually. Therefore, it was later on 11 January 1995 with the team Viktorenko / Kondakova / Polyakov a test separation with reconnection by the automatic approach system course carried out ( 8:59 GMT decoupling, coupling at the same place 9:27 GMT).

During the time of flight of the crew of supply spacecraft Progress ( November 11, 1994 Start) were and Progress M -26 ( starting February 15, 1995 ) received M-25. On February 6, 1995 ( 19:23 GMT) an approximation of the U.S. Ferry Discovery (STS -63 ) was tested up to 11.3 m.

The scientific focus of the flight program were medical tests. Thus, the adaptation to microgravity, muscle wasting and weight loss and the change of internal clock were investigated. In addition, but one turned and the radiation exposure in Earth orbit. In order to determine the general health, Ulf Merbold took blood, urine and tissue samples daily. For the first time video conferences were held aboard the Russian space station. So Ulf Merbold held on October 19, a lesson in which he answered questions from children.

In the course of the mission there were several occasions to energy shortages, so that the screening program had to be changed. Once an extensive experimentation even led to a substantial discharge of the batteries on the station, creating a critical situation occurred. Energy intensive were the five planned materials science experiments, which therefore could not be executed. During the mission, the European scientists were largely able to monitor their automatic experiments themselves.

Valeri Polyakov returned with Soyuz TM -20 after 437 days 17 hours and 31 seconds in space back. This set a new long-term record dar. Also Jelena Kondakova presented with 169 days 5 hours and 35 seconds a flight duration record for women. Ulf Merbold returned together with Musabayev and Malenchenko with the spacecraft Soyuz TM -19 back to Earth.