MOSCOW, November 7 (Itar-Tass) - A manned Soyuz spacecraft with an international crew of the next long-duration mission to the International Space Station will take off from Baikonur on Thursday, Roskosmos told Itar-Tass.
"The launch of Soyuz - FG carrier with Soyuz TMA -11M from the 1st, named after Gagarin, pad at Baikonur is scheduled for 8:14 Moscow time," the space agency said.
The ship’s pilot will be Russian Mikhail Tyurin. He and his colleagues - American Richard Mastracchio and Japan's Koichi Wakata on Thursday, November 7, will join on board the ISS Russians Oleg Kotov, Sergei Ryazansky, Fyodor Yurchikhin, Americans Michael Hopkins and Karen Nyberg, and Italian Luca Parmitano. It will be a situation similar to that of 2009: the International Space Station will host nine cosmonauts and three docked Soyuz spacecrafts.
The ship will deliver to the ISS the Sochi-2014 torch - one of the main symbols of the Olympic Winter Games. The Olympic flame is a part of the crew’s emblem, and on the rocket and spacecraft carry symbols of the Olympic Games.
Docking of Soyuz TMA -11M to the ISS is scheduled for 14:00 Moscow time on November 7. In the ISS history it will be the fourth docking of a manned ship, which will take shorter time - six hours. The first launch of the kind / where a ship makes only four turns around the Earth/ was used in March of this year, as Soyuz TMA- 08M was launched.
The crew will perform a program of applied research and experiments, will do on-board video and photography, will work with the Progress cargo ships, make spacewalks and solve many other problems.
In addition, during the spacewalk on November 9 outside the space station, cosmonauts Oleg Kotov and Sergey Ryazansky will carry the Olympic torch. Generally speaking, the space will see a part of the Olympic torch relay: the crew, which takes off today, will take the torch to the station, then the second crew /Oleg Kotov, Sergei Ryazansky/ will take it to the spacewalk, and the third crew of Russian Fyodor Yurchikhin, American Karen Nyberg and Italian Luke Parmitano on November 11 on board Soyuz TMA- 09M will bring it back to the Earth. Kotov and Ryazansky will pass the Olympic torch to each another right in the space. The Olympic flame symbol will be fastened to their suits to exclude any chances to "drop" it into the space. The cosmonauts practiced their actions beforehand, on the Earch, at a hydro laboratory.
About two dozens of military and civil planes and helicopters and a search and rescue vessel of Russia’s Navy will be on guard for a emergency landing of Soyuz TMA -11M, Roskosmos said.
Russia’s Central Military District added the insurance of the flight will be provided by 200 military, 18 helicopters Mi- 8 with the special equipment on board, four An -12 and An- 26 planes and 15 vehicles, including four search and evacuation off-road vehicles. "We have formed a group of helicopters which will carry rescuers and doctors. They are located along the trajectory of the spacecraft’s flight in Baikonur, Arkalyk, Dzhezkazgan, Karaganda , Gorno-Altaisk and Kyzyl," a representative of the Central Military District said.