Soyuz TMA-1

Soyuz TMA-1 mission is the designation for the flight of a Russian Soyuz spacecraft to the International Space Station (ISS). It was the fifth visit of a Soyuz spacecraft to the ISS and the 111th flight in Sojusprogramm.

  • 2.1 delay when starting
  • 2.2 The Start
  • 2.3 End of Mission
  • 2.4 Return: Unplanned ballistic re-entry
  • 2.5 improvements


Start crew

  • Sergey Viktorovich Saljotin ( second space flight ), Commander (Russia Russia)
  • Frank De Winne ( first space flight), flight engineer (European Space Agency ESA / Belgium )
  • Yuri Valentinovich Lonchakov ( second space flight), flight engineer (Russia Russia)

Backup crew

  • Yuri Valentinovich Lonchakov, Commander
  • Alexander Ivanovich Lasutkin, Flight Engineer

Return crew

  • Nikolai Mikhailovich Budarin ( first space flight), Commander (Russia Russia)
  • Kenneth Duane Bowersox ( 5 space flight), flight engineer ( National Aeronautics and Space Administration NASA / United States United States)
  • Donald Roy Pettit ( first space flight ) Flight Engineer ( National Aeronautics and Space Administration NASA / United States United States)

Mission overview

While manned missions aboard the ISS is always a three-seater Soyuz spacecraft docked. For security reasons, mainly because of the loaded fuel these ships stay a maximum of 6 months on the ISS, and must therefore be replaced regularly. Missions to replace the Soyuz spacecraft, thereby got the name "taxi - flights".

TMA-1 was the first copy of the new generation with improved Soyuz landing systems. When entering the TMA-1, there was a ballistic re-entry, so the crew was exposed to greater stresses than with a steered and normally applied re-entry due to a system error.

The TMA-1 was the 5th Soyuz, which flew to the ISS, replacing the older model Soyuz TM- 34, which was in orbit since April 2002.

Delay when starting

Due to an error at another Soyuz rocket on 15 October 2002 in the Plesetsk launch of Soyuz TMA-1 has been postponed by two days of 28 October 2002 to 30 October 2002, in order to have more time what caused this error to find. The official result of the investigation was that a foreign body in the drive led to failure of the launch. The problem was considered unimportant for other missiles of the same type, and prepare for TMA-1 could be continued as planned.

The start

The Soyuz -FG rocket with the Soyuz TMA-1 was launched on 30 October 2002, 03:11:11 UTC from Baikonur. Nine minutes later, the TMA-1 reached orbit with Commander Sergei Saljotin, Flight Engineer Yuri Lonchakov and ESA astronaut Frank De Winne. The spacecraft placed on Friday November 1 at 05:01 UTC at the Pirs docking port on the ISS. 1.5 hours later, the hatch was opened to the ISS. The crew returned eight days later on board the spaceship Soyuz TM -34, which was already six months in space, back to earth.

End of the mission

The Soyuz TMA-1 was as a lifeboat for the crew to the ISS until May 2003. Originally it was planned that another "Taxi " crew would fly back to the TMA-1 on the ground. Because of the Columbia disaster in February 2003, the Shuttle fleet was grounded and the Soyuz TMA-1 was the only possibility of returning for the sixth long-term ISS crew.

Return: Unplanned ballistic re-entry

On 4 May 2003, the first re-entry of the new model Soyuz TMA on their return to Earth with the ISS Expedition Team: Russian cosmonaut Nikolai Budarin and American astronauts Kenneth Bowersox and Donald Pettit.

Despite the unplanned re-entry to the so-called " ballistic " method, all new systems in the Soyuz TMA-1 functioned properly. This primarily includes the new system for a soft landing, including new engines and a new frame and with the impact when landing from 12 g at the old Soyuz TM should be reduced to 5 g at the Soyuz TMA. The parachutes of the Soyuz TMA-1 also functioned flawlessly.

The reason that the Soyuz TMA-1 performed the re-entry after the ballistic method and 150 km north of Baikonur, ie 400 km came down before the planned landing site was a malfunction of the BUSP -M - guidance system, which is required for a controlled re-entry. This guidance system reads the data from the attitude control gyroscope and accelerometer and sends appropriate commands to the attitude control thrusters.

Here, the yaw control channel of the BUSP -M yielded ambiguous readings, indicating a malfunction. Then took overriding control functions to take the BUSP -M system from the control loop and put on the ballistic re -entry mode.

In this trajectory is steeper than in a controlled re-entry, and the casing rotates about its axis trajectory, to increase the stability. The steeper trajectory reduces flight time and increases deceleration. This meant that the crew of the Soyuz TMA-1 with eight times the acceleration due to gravity (8 g) was loaded while in a controlled re-entry load shall not exceed 6 g.

The system BUSP -M, in which the problem occurred, first came in 1979 in the spaceship Soyuz T -5 used 49 times and has since completed a flawless controlled re-entry. Experiments as part of the official investigations that were hired by the commission of inquiry set up by the return of the Soyuz TMA-1, no interference in the steering system revealed. The problem could only be simulated by mathematical simulations showing that the probability that this problem occurs again, is to put a figure on 1:7000.

In the history of the Soyuz program that only came three times to a re-entry of this kind, although the ballistic descent is a admissible of four re-entry process, can make use of them Soyuz capsules of type T, TM and TMA under different conditions; the other three are the automatic and manual control modes, and a ballistic mode.

The Commission of Inquiry concluded that the Soyuz TMA-2 needed to be changed. Meanwhile, the new Soyuz TMA is released for other missions with ESA participation.


First, the Commission has recommended improving communication possibilities by including a mobile satellite telephone in the return capsule. This should be done as early as the Soyuz TMA -2, and the telephone with an unmanned Progress cargo ship to the ISS is to be transported. Longer term, the installation of a satellite communication capacity as COSPAS- SARSAT is recommended.

Second, is to be avoided as much as possible by appropriate changes that the team of incorrect commands. These changes are considered necessary because the sixth expedition team turned on the Rendezvous-/Andocksystem course during the re-entry procedure by mistake, although this has proven to not fire the ballistic re-entry.

Selenschikow also addressed the question of why, after the re-entry passed so much time before the Soyuz spacecraft and its crew were found. Although the salvage operation took longer than expected, but did not exceed the prescribed maximum period of three hours.

The Russian mission control in Moscow, and the crew of the orbiting over the expected landing site in Kazakhstan search aircraft was in spite of the existing prior to landing radio contact with the Expedition is not known that a ballistic re-entry had taken place because the astronauts this on in their discussions with the teams soil had not mentioned. Therefore, the search aircraft and the accompanying helicopter first flew over the expected landing area and not the area in which the capsule had been suspected for a ballistic re-entry.

The fact that the search was unsuccessful, led the search party to conclude that such a re-entry had to have taken place, after which she went to the corresponding area 400 km away. After landing, it apparently came with a set of procedures to errors, which has led to the on-board antennas were not extended, and then, after the team had set up an antenna outside the capsule, the radio traffic was not converted to an external transmitter. All this has locating the crew delayed. When the recovery team arrived, the Soyuz crew had left the capsule on its own.

To avoid such mishaps in the future, a revision of the board documentation for the mission operations and a further training of future Soyuz TMA- teams is recommended.