AmericaSpace Note: Over the next several weeks, NASA will be broadcasting a Soyuz landing and launch. Why are the Soyuz missions important to our space program? Because Soyuz will, in about a year, be the only means for American astronauts to get into earth orbit for…well, it depends. Why? Constellation is behind schedule. It’s not NASA’s fault. That’s what happens when a program gets 20% of its funding cut every year. And we can thank Presidents Bush and Obama, along with successive Congresses, for that. And there are others we can thank for causing Constellation’s delays to only grow since 2008, but that’s another post another time.
HOUSTON — The return to Earth of three International Space Station crew members and the prelaunch activities, launch and docking of the station’s newest trio of residents will be broadcast on NASA Television during the next several weeks.
After almost six months aboard the orbital laboratory, Expedition 24 Soyuz Commander Alexander Skvortsov, NASA Flight Engineer Tracy Caldwell Dyson and Russian Flight Engineer Mikhail Kornienko are scheduled to land their Soyuz TMA-18 spacecraft in southern Kazakhstan on Sept. 23 (Sept. 24 in Kazakhstan). Russian cosmonaut and Soyuz Commander Alexander Kaleri, NASA Flight Engineer Scott Kelly and Russian Flight Engineer Oleg Skripochka will launch aboard the Soyuz TMA-01M on Oct. 7 (Oct. 8 in Kazakhstan) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. They will join NASA astronaut and Expedition 25 Commander Doug Wheelock, NASA Flight Engineer Shannon Walker and Russian cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin, who have been aboard the station since June 18.
The coverage begins with a NASA TV Video File feed at 11 a.m. CDT Sept. 17. The footage will include the prelaunch news conference with Kelly, Kaleri and Skripochka at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, Russia, and their ceremonial visit to lay flowers at the Kremlin Wall in Red Square in Moscow.