MOSCOW, November 11 (Itar-Tass) — Twenty military and civilian planes and helicopters, as well as a ship of the search and rescue service of the Russian Navy, will ensure safety of the launch to the International Space Station (ISS) of the Soyuz manned spacecraft, scheduled for November 14, Federal Air Transport Agency (Rosaviatsiya) head’s adviser Andrei Pryanishnikov told Itar-Tass on Friday.
“Along the entire ascent trajectory of the Soyuz TMA-22 spacecraft with ISS Expedition 29/30 crew the flight safety will be ensured by eight planes (three Antonov An-26, one An-24, one An-2, one An-12, Tupolev TU -142, Ilyushin IL-38) and 12 Mi-8 helicopters based at 11 airfields. In addition, the rescue vessel Mashuk of the Russian Navy has been deployed in the Sea of ··Japan (East Sea),” Pryanishnikov said. At present, “all the search and rescue forces and means have already been deployed.”
The spacecraft will fly over the territory of Kazakhstan, the southern regions of Siberia, Lake Baikal and the Far East. Rescue specialists, ready to provide medical care and evacuate astronauts from the landing site, will be permanently on duty along the entire flight path in case of activation of an emergency recovery system.
Emergency landing of astronauts even outside the territory of Russia and Kazakhstan is envisaged in case of contingency during the flight. To this end, 12 so-called “landing ranges” have been prepared in different parts of the world. Rescue specialists of the country in which the descent capsule lands will provide first aid to the crew, in accordance with an international agreement. After that the astronauts and the capsule will be returned to Russia, the Federal Space Agency specified.
The Soyuz TMA-22 spaceship at 08:14, Moscow time on November 14 will be launched to the ISS with the Expedition 29/30 crew – Russian cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov, Anatoly Ivanishin and NASA astronaut Daniel Burbank.
The ISS provides a location in the relative safety of Low Earth Orbit to test spacecraft systems that will be required for long-duration missions to the Moon and Mars. This provides experience in the maintenance, repair, and replacement of systems on-orbit, which will be essential in operating spacecraft farther from Earth. Mission risks are reduced, and the capabilities of interplanetary spacecraft are advanced. The ESA states that “Whereas the ISS is essential for answering questions concerning the possible impact of weightlessness, radiation and other space-specific factors, other aspects such as the effect of long-term isolation and confinement can be more appropriately addressed via ground-based simulations.”
A Mars exploration mission may be a multinational effort involving space agencies and countries outside the current ISS partnership. In 2010 ESA Director-General Jean-Jacques Dordain stated his agency was ready to propose to the other 4 partners that China, India and South Korea be invited to join the ISS partnership. NASA chief Charlie Bolden stated in Feb 2011, “Any mission to Mars is likely to be a global effort.” As of 2011, the space agencies of Europe, Russia and China carried out the ground-based preparations in the Mars500 project, which complement the ISS-based preparations for a manned mission to Mars. China launched its own space station in September 2011, and has officially initiated its programme for a modular station. However, China has indicated a willingness to cooperate further with other countries on manned exploration.
The International Space Station represents a combination of three national space station projects, NASA’s Freedom, the RSA’s Mir-2, and the European Columbus space stations. In September 1993, American Vice-President Al Gore, Jr., and Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin announced plans for a new space station, which eventually became the International Space Station. They also agreed, in preparation for this new project, that the United States would be involved in the Mir programme, including American Shuttles docking, in the Shuttle-Mir Program. According to the plan, the International Space Station programme would combine the proposed space stations of all participant agencies and the Japanese Kibo laboratory. The assembly of the International Space Station, a major endeavour in space architecture, began in November 1998. Russian modules launch and dock robotically, with the exception of Rassvet. All other modules were delivered by space shuttle, which required installation by ISS and shuttle crewmembers using the SSRMS and EVAs.