MOSCOW, October 24 (Itar-Tass) — The Interdepartmental Commission will formally approve in the Star City on Monday the qualifying exam rating that was in early September received by the main and backup crews of a new expedition to the International Space Station (ISS), the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roskosmos) told Itar-Tass.
“The Commission is to approve the ratings for the September complex training and makeup of the crews of Expedition 29/30 to the ISS,” the Federal Space Agency specified.
The main crew – Russian cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov, Anatoly Ivanishin and NASA astronaut Daniel Burbank spent two days in the replicas of the Russian segment of the ISS and the Soyuz TMA spacecraft. Their backups - Gennady Padalka, Sergei Revin and Joseph Acaba passed examination tests simultaneously. The examination session took place in early September, however, due to the Progress M-12M cargo spacecraft crash, the launch of the Soyuz TMA-22 spaceship on which the next expedition crew will fly in orbit, was delayed for nearly two months, so the meeting of the Interdepartmental Commission and a pre-flight conference of the crews will be held only on Monday, traditionally three weeks ahead of the launch.
The main crew of Expedition 29/30 to the ISS will work on the station for about five months.
If approved by the Commission, two novices - RF Air Force Colonel Shkaplerov and Lieutenant Colonel Ivanishin, as well as retired US Coast Guard Colonel Burbank, who has twice flown on the US space shuttles, will fly to the ISS.
In the view of examiners of the Cosmonaut Training Centre, both the main and backup crews of Expedition 29/30 to the ISS have excellently coped with all contingency situations during the complex training.
The launch of the Soyuz TMA-22 spacecraft with the next ISS expedition crew is scheduled for 08:14 MSK from the Baikonur Cosmodrome on November 14.
TMA-22 will be the 111th flight of a Soyuz spacecraft, the first flight launching in 1967. The Soyuz will most likely remain docked to the space station for the Expedition 29 increment to serve as an emergency escape vehicle. This will be the final flight of a Soyuz-TMA vehicle, which has been replaced by the modernised TMA-M series. It was supposed to launch on September 30, 2011; due to the failure launch of the Progress M-12M resupply vehicle, however, it has been delayed to mid-November (currently scheduled for November 14).
The International Space Station is a habitable, artificial satellite in low Earth orbit. The ISS follows the Salyut, Almaz, Cosmos, Skylab, and Mir space stations, as the 11th space station launched, not including the Genesis I and II prototypes. The ISS serves as a research laboratory that has a microgravity environment in which crews conduct experiments in many fields including biology, human biology, physics, astronomy and meteorology. The station has a unique environment for the testing of the spacecraft systems that will be required for missions to the Moon and Mars. The station is expected to remain in operation until at least 2020, and potentially to 2028. The ISS is a joint project between the five participating space agencies, the American NASA, the Russian Roskosmos (RKA), the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency JAXA, the European ESA, and the Canadian CSA. The ownership and use of the space station is established in intergovernmental treaties and agreements which divide the station into two areas and allow the Russian Federation to retain full ownership of Russian Orbital Segment (ROS).
The ISS provides a platform to conduct scientific research that cannot be performed in any other way. Whilst unmanned spacecraft can provide platforms for zero gravity and exposure to space, the ISS offers a long-term environment where studies can be performed potentially for decades, combined with ready access by human researchers over periods that exceed the capabilities of manned spacecraft. Kibo is intended to accelerate Japan’s progress in science and technology, gain new knowledge and apply it to such fields as industry and medicine. The Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS), which NASA compares to the Hubble telescope, could not be accommodated on a free flying satellite platform, due in part to its power requirements and data bandwidth needs. The Station simplifies individual experiments by eliminating the need for separate rocket launches and research staff.