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Mission 9S at a Glance:

Launch and landing spacecraft:

  • Soyuz TMA-5 (No. 215)

Launch site:

Launch date:

  • 2004 Oct. 14, 07:06 Moscow Time (0306 GMT)

Docking date:

  • 2004 Oct. 16 (0424 GMT)

Landing date:

  • 2005 April 25


  • 192 days days, 19 hours and 2 minutes


  • Leroy Chiao, Commander (US)
  • Salizhan Sharipov (Russia)
  • Yuri Shargin (Russia) (returned onboard Soyuz TMA-4)


Previous mission: Soyuz TMA-4

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The mission of the Soyuz TMA-5 spacecraft to the International Space Station in the fall of 2004, was originally intended to be a routine exchange of a rescue vehicle onboard the outpost.

The so-called "taxi crew," would fly Soyuz TMA-5 to the station, spend a week onboard and then parachute back to Earth inside the reentry capsule of the previous Soyuz TMA-4 spacecraft. However, the Columbia accident in February 2003 and resulting grounding of the Shuttle fleet left Russia as a main "care taker" of the station and the Soyuz spacecraft as the only vehicle capable of rotating crews onboard the outpost. The Soyuz TMA-5 mission was assigned to deliver the 10th long-duration crew to the ISS. It would be the fifth Russian vehicle used for such purpose in the ISS program, the fourth since the loss of the Shuttle and ninth spacecraft from the Soyuz family launched toward the ISS.

The crew

Expedition 10 consisted of Commander Leroy Chiao, a NASA astronaut, and Flight Engineer Salizhan Sharipov, representing Russia. Russian Space Forces Test Cosmonaut Yuri Shargin joined the 10th crew of the ISS for a week-long stay onboard the station. He would return to Earth with Expedition 9 onboard Soyuz TMA-4. Expedition 10 was scheduled to live and work on the ISS for six months. Chiao and Sharipov were officially announced as Expedition 10 crew on February 6, 2004. At the time they also served as a backup crew for the Expedition 9.

Pre-flight processing

Originally, the launch of the Soyuz TMA-5 spacecraft was expected on October 9, 2004,* however problems with the docking system encountered during processing of the vehicle pushed the launch date to October 11, 2004 at 08:17 Moscow Time.

Then, on September 28, 2004, a problem in the spacecraft's propulsion system was discovered during testing, forcing another delay. To repair failed system, some components had to be borrowed from the Progress cargo ship slated to follow the Soyuz TMA-5 to the ISS.

(*According to established safety criteria, the Soyuz TMA-5 could be launched as late as October 28 to replace the Soyuz TMA-4.)

2004 Oct. 4: Main and backup crew of Expedition 10 visited Baikonur for a familiarization training onboard the Soyuz TMA-5 spacecraft. The next day, the spacecraft was shipped to the fueling station where on October 6, it was loaded with propellants.

2004 Oct. 8: Inside Baikonur's Site-254 processing facility, the Soyuz TMA-5 was integrated with the payload fairing of its launch vehicle.

The mission

A new shift of residents of the International Space Station, ISS, departed Earth onboard a Russian rocket.

The Soyuz TMA-5 (No. 215) spacecraft, carrying a crew of three blasted off from Baikonur Cosmodrome's Site 1, at 07:06 Moscow Time on Oct. 14, 2004.

Onboard were Commander Leroy Chiao, a NASA astronaut, Russian Flight Engineer Salizhan Sharipov and Test Cosmonaut Yuri Shargin, representing Russian Space Forces. Expedition 10 was scheduled to live and work on the ISS for six months. Shargin would return to Earth with Expedition 9 onboard Soyuz TMA-4.

The Soyuz TMA-5 separated from the upper stage of the launch vehicle at 07:15 Moscow Time on October 14, 2004.

The docking

The Soyuz TMA-5 successfully docked to the Docking Compartment on the Russian segment of the ISS on Saturday October 16, 2004 at 0416 GMT. Originally, the docking was scheduled for 0424 GMT, however at the distance of around 100 meters onboard alarm warned the crew about higher than normal rendezvous velocity. Salizhan Sharipov, the Soyuz commander, then switched to the manual control and backed the Soyuz to the distance of around 200 meters from the station. He then successfully completed the docking under manual control.

Around a week after Expedition 10's arrival to the station, Russian media quoted Yuri Semenov, the head of RKK Energia, on the causes of technical problems during docking of the Soyuz TMA-5 spacecraft with the ISS. According to Semenov, one of four engines onboard the spacecraft developed only 30 percent of the trust, while ground controllers also detected failure in the onboard flight control system measuring the acceleration of the craft. The system supplied erroneous data in the main flight control computer, resulting in higher than normal rendezvous speed. Semenov said that the distance between the spacecraft and the station was less than 50 meters, when the automated flight control system warned the crew about the problem and maneuvered the vehicle away from the station. Russian flight director Vladimir Soloviev then instructed the Soyuz commander to switch to the manual control.

The re-docking

On Nov. 30, 2004, the crew of the ISS re-docked the Soyuz TM-5 from the Pirs docking module to the Zarya control module's nadir port. The vehicle with two crewmembers onboard separated from the station at 12:32 Moscow Time and backed away to the distance of about 30 meters, the Russian mission control said. It docked to the Zarya, after 21 minutes in free flight.

The landing

Commander and NASA ISS Science Officer Leroy Chiao and Flight Engineer Salizhan Sharipov, the 10th crew of the International Space Station, landed in the steppes of Kazakhstan along with European Space Agency Astronaut Roberto Vittori of Italy, who launched to the station with the Expedition 11 crew and spent eight days doing experiments. He was aboard under a contract between ESA and the Russian Federal Space Agency.

The crew left the station April 24 in the Soyuz TMA-5 spacecraft that brought them to the orbiting laboratory. Their landing took place as scheduled at 02:08 Moscow Time that day in Kazakhstan. (Projected landing time was 02:07:27 Moscow Time, according to the Russian mission control center in Korolev)

The reentry of the ISS Soyuz 9 spacecraft was flawless. It brought the three spacefarers to a landing about 53 miles northeast of Arkalyk after 192 days, 19 hours and 2 minutes in space. The recovery team reached the capsule in minutes.

The area was saturated from recent rains and melting winter snow, so the first members of the recovery team to reach the scene decided to fly the crew to Arkalyk to meet with the remaining members of the recovery team. Chiao and Sharipov will spend several weeks in Star City, near Moscow, for debriefing and medical examinations.

During their increment they performed two spacewalks, continued station maintenance and did scientific experiments.

Before closing the Soyuz hatches earlier Sunday they said farewell to the Expedition 11 crew, Commander Sergei Krikalev and NASA ISS Science Officer John Phillips.

Next mission: Soyuz TMA-6

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The pre-launch processing of the Soyuz TMA-5 spacecraft at Site-254 in Baikonur. Credit: RKK Energia

The crew of the Soyuz TMA-5 poses in front of its spacecraft. Credit: RKK Energia

A TV camera inside the Soyuz TMA-5 shows the crewmembers inside the spacecraft during its ride to orbit. Credit: NASA