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Forum:Soviet - Russian Space
Topic:Soyuz TMA-04M mission to the space station
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The Soyuz TMA-04M spacecraft was rolled out by train to the launch pad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Sunday, May 13, 2012.

The launch of the Soyuz spacecraft with TMA-04M commander Gennady Padalka and flight engineers Sergei Revin and Joe Acaba is scheduled for 9:01 a.m. local time on Tuesday, May 15 (0301 GMT / 10:01 p.m. CDT May 15).

Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls
Robert Pearlman
Soyuz TMA-04M launches for space station

Russia's Soyuz TMA-04M spacecraft lifted off atop a Soyuz booster at 10:01 p.m. CDT Monday, May 14 (0301 GMT May 15) with three new crew members for the International Space Station (ISS).

Soyuz commander Gennady Padalka and flight engineers Sergei Revin and Joe Acaba will join the station's Expedition 31 crew when they arrive at the orbiting complex at 11:38 p.m. CDT on Wednesday, May 16 (0438 GMT May 17). They will live and work aboard the ISS for four months, transitioning to lead the Expedition 32 crew.

The trio, which launched under Padalka's call sign "Altair," chose as their talisman — or zero-g indicator — a small doll of Smokey (the) Bear, the long-time mascot of the U.S. Forest Service. The brown bear with his iconic campaign hat and blue jeans was a gifted to Acaba by a friend who works for the forest service.

This is Padalka's fourth spaceflight and Acaba's second. Revin is making his first trip to space.

Soon after arriving at the space station, the TMA-04M crew will assist with the berthing and unpacking of the first U.S. commercial resupply spacecraft to visit the complex, SpaceX's Dragon capsule, which is scheduled to launch on May 19.

Robert Pearlman
Soyuz TMA-04M docks with the space station

Gennady Padalka, Sergei Revin and Joe Acaba docked their Soyuz TMA-04M spacecraft at the International Space Station's (ISS) Poisk mini-research module at 11:36 p.m. CDT on Wednesday, May 16 (0436 GMT May 17) while flying over the Mongolian-Kazakh border 250 miles below.

After the hatches between the Soyuz and space station were opened, Expedition 31 commander Oleg Kononenko and flight engineers Don Pettit and Andre Kuipers welcomed the three new flight engineers aboard for their four-month stay on the complex.

This marks Padalka's third visit to the station, after commanding Expeditions 9 and 19/20, and Acaba's second, after helping to deliver the complex's final set of solar arrays during the STS-119 mission in 2009. This is Revin's first spaceflight.

The TMA-04M docking coincided with Acaba's 45th birthday. He was born on May 17, 1967.

Robert Pearlman
Soyuz TMA-04M undocks from the space station

Russia's Soyuz TMA-04M, crewed by ISS Expedition 32 commander Gennady Padalka and flight engineers Joe Acaba and Sergei Revin, undocked from the Poisk module on the International Space Station at 6:09 p.m. CDT (2309 GMT) Sunday (Sept. 16).

The spacefarers are set to land on the steppe of Kazakhstan at 9:53 p.m. CDT (0253 GMT), wrapping up their 125 days in space.

Robert Pearlman
Soyuz TMA-04M returns to Earth

Three members of the International Space Station Expedition 32 crew returned safely to Earth on Sunday (Sept. 16), wrapping up a mission lasting more than four months.

Flight engineer Joe Acaba of NASA, commander Gennady Padalka and flight engineer Sergei Revin both of Roscosmos, undocked their Soyuz TMA-04M spacecraft from the space station at 6:09 p.m. CDT (2309 GMT) and landed north of Arkalyk, Kazakhstan, at 9:53 p.m. (8:53 a.m., Sept. 17, Kazakhstan time; 0253 GMT). The trio arrived at the station May 17 and spent 125 days in space, 123 of which were aboard the orbiting laboratory.

After the Soyuz spacecraft separated from the space station, NASA astronaut Sunita Williams took command of Expedition 33. Williams is the second woman to command the station. She and her crewmates, Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko and Akihiko Hoshide of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), will work aboard the station as a three-person crew until the arrival of three new crew members in mid-October.

Acaba, Padalka and Revin orbited Earth 2,000 times and traveled 52,906,428 miles. Padalka now ranks fourth for the most days spent in space — a total of 711 days during four flights.

Credit: NASA/Carla Cioffi

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