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Mission at a Glance:

Launch Date:
2005 Oct. 1 (Sept. 30, 11:55 p.m. EDT)

Docking Date:
2005 Oct. 3, 09:32 (Oct. 3, 2005, 1:32 a.m. EDT)

Expedition 12 crew:

Commander: William McArthur (NASA)

Flight Engineer: Valery Tokarev (Roskosmos)

Backup Crew:

Commander and ISS Science Officer: Jeffrey Williams

Flight Engineer 1 and Soyuz Commander: Mikhail Tyurin

Planned mission duration: 182 days

Scheduled Mission Milestones:


Oct. 11: Soyuz TMA-6 undocking

Nov. 3: 4th spacewalk from US segment:

Dec. 7: 15th spacewalk from Russian segment

Dec. 20: Progress cargo ship (Mission

Dec. 21: Progress cargo ship (Mission 20P) launch toward the ISS)


February: 5th spacewalk from the US segment

March 22: Soyuz TMA-8 launch

April 1: Soyuz TMA-7 undock

March (Delayed to May in October 2005 due to Katrina): STS-121 ULF1.1 launch



Previous mission: Soyuz TMA-6

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The mission of the Soyuz TMA-7 (No. 217) spacecraft (the ISS mission 11S) in the fall of 2005 had a goal of delivering and returning the 12th long-duration crew to the International Space Station. The launch was scheduled for Oct. 1, 2005. (November 15 was previously quoted as the launch date.)

Expedition 12 crew consisted of NASA astronaut William McArthur as a commander and Russian cosmonaut Valery Tokarev as a Flight Engineer. McArthur, 54, a retired Army colonel, is a veteran of three shuttle flights, including one to the station and one to the Russian space station Mir. Tokarev, 52, a colonel in the Russian Air Force, is a veteran of one spaceflight, to the international space station aboard a space shuttle.

Third Space Tourist

In April 2004, Gregory Olsen, a businessman from Princeton, NJ, started training in Star City, as a "tourist" candidate for the flight. Olsen would be the third person who paid his own way into space onboard the Russian spacecraft, following Dennis Tito and Mark Shuttleworth. At the time his flight to the ISS was to take place in April 2005 onboard the Soyuz TMA-6 spacecraft. However only two months later, in June 2004, Olsen was disqualified from the flight, reportedly, due to medical reasons.

Almost a year later, on May 14, 2005, Chief Medical Commission, GMK, did reversed its decision and in two days Olsen was back in training in Star City. A medical condition, which previously caused Olsen's disqualification, was "remedied," according to the official reports. Olsen was assigned to the Soyuz TMA-7 crew, scheduled to fly in the fall of 2005. As usual with such flights, Olsen would spend about eight days on the station and then return to Earth with the departing crew, in this case Expedition 11.

Olsen, who had a Ph.D. from Princeton and also led a high-tech company in the US, arranged a work on a number of scientific experiments on behalf of the European Space Agency, ESA.

Pre-launch activities

2005 Sept. 12: The Soyuz TMA-7 was placed into the vacuum chamber at Site 254 for pressure checks. The tests were completed on Sept. 16. In the meantime, the pre-launch processing of the Soyuz FG launch vehicle was initiated at Site 112.

2005 Sept. 18: Expedition 12 members and their backups arrived to Baikonur from the Gagarin Training Center.

2005 Sept. 22: Expedition 12 members and their backups conducted a familiarization training with the Soyuz TMA-7 spacecraft at Site 254 processing building in Baikonur. Crewmembers checked their individual seats in the spacecraft and tested spacesuits for pressure leaks.

2005 Sept. 23: The processing crew at Baikonur initiated fueling of the Soyuz TMA-7 spacecraft in preparation for launch. The next day, the spacecraft was returned to the processing building at Site 254, where it was attached to the adapter ring of the launch vehicle.

2005 Sept. 27: Expedition 12 members conducted their second familiarization training with the Soyuz TMA-7 spacecraft. On the same day, the payload module with the Soyuz TMA-7 was transported from Site 254 to Site 112 for the integration with its Soyuz FG (No. 17) launch vehicle.

2005 Sept. 29: At 05:00 Moscow Time, the Soyuz FG launch vehicle with the Soyuz TMA-7 spacecraft was rolled out from the assembly building at Site 112 to the launch pad at Site 1.


2005 Oct. 1: The Soyuz TMA-7 spacecraft blasted off from Site 1 in Baikonur Cosmodrome at 07:54:53 Moscow Time, and successfully reached orbit nine minutes later. Russian flight controllers reported the spacecraft's solar arrays had deployed as scheduled, and that all appeared normal.


After a two-day solo flight, the Soyuz TMA-7 automatically docked to the Pirs Docking Compartment of the International Space Station on Oct. 3, 2005 at 09:32 Moscow Time, as scheduled. The crew entered the station at 12:36 Moscow Time (08:36 GMT).

Flight plan

Previous expedition was scheduled to undock from the station on Oct. 10, 2005 onboard the Soyuz TMA-6 that brought them to the station April 16, 2005. Landing was scheduled for 9:08 p.m. EDT that day in the steppes of Kazakhstan, winding up their 180-day increment.

Just after Expedition 12 members board the station, they were scheduled receive a safety briefing and then begin extensive handover briefings from their Expedition 11 predecessors. They would get training on the station's Canadarm2 and on systems and experiments on the station.

During their stay on the station McArthur and Tokarev were expected to conduct two or three spacewalks. The first, from the Quest airlock in US spacesuits, was planned for early November 2005. Tasks included installation of a camera group and retrieval of the station's floating potential probe. That would be McArthur's third spacewalk and the first for Tokarev.

About two weeks later the crewmembers will board their Soyuz spacecraft and move it from the Pirs docking compartment to a docking port on the Zarya module. That will clear the Pirs for use of its airlock in a spacewalk using Russian Orlan suits in December.

That spacewalk will focus on retrieving scientific experiments and photography of a micrometeoroid monitoring system and the Soyuz descent module's multilayer insulation.

A third spacewalk early next year in US spacesuits is under consideration.

McArthur and Tokarev were are scheduled to receive an unmanned Progress cargo craft to the station, just in time for Christmas. That Progress was to bring fuel, equipment, supplies, water, oxygen and air to the station. Docking was planned for Dec. 23, 2005.

Station maintenance was to occupy considerable time. They will continue scientific investigations aboard the orbiting laboratory, as well as a program of scientific education activities and Earth observations.

Their replacements, the 13th long-term crew of the station, are scheduled to arrive in March 2006.

The first re-docking

On November 18, 2005, at 11:45 Moscow Time, the Soyuz TMA-7 separated from the Pirs Docking Compartment and after backing away some 30 meters from the station, docked to the nadir port of the Zarya control module 20 minutes later under a manual control. The move freed the Docking Compartment for the upcoming spacewalk.

Expedition 12 returns to Earth

After more than a week of joint operations, the Expedition 12 crew, along with Marcos Pontes, boarded the Soyuz TMA-7 spacecraft on April 8, 2006. The command to undock from the station was sent at 4:25 p.m. EDT, and physical separation of the vehicle from the aft port of the Zvezda service module took place three minutes later. The deorbiting engine burn lasted from 6:57:31 to 7:01 p.m. EDT, and the separation of the Soyuz modules took place at 7:21 p.m. EDT. The command to open the parachutes was sent at 7:33 p.m. and the successful landing was completed at 7:48 p.m. EDT at the assigned site near the town of Arkalyk, Kazakhstan. Just minutes later, a rescue helicopter had found the reentry vehicle in the upright position.

Next mission: Soyuz TMA-8

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This page is maintained by Anatoly Zak; Last update: May 5, 2012

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Commander William S. McArthur Jr. (right), Flight Engineer Valery Tokarev (center) and US space tourist Gregory Olsen complete the checkout of their Soyuz TMA-7 capsule at the Energia Integration Facility at the Baikonur Cosmodrome. Credit: NASA