At Korolev RSC Energia a regular session of the Board of Chief Designers on the Russian Segment of the International Space Station (ISS) was held that was dedicated to the next phase of the flight program of the station and the Soyuz TMA-6 manned spacecraft launch processing.

Reports were presented by:

Yu.I. Grigoriev (RSC Energia Deputy General Designer) – on the main results of the ninth and tenth expeditions to the International Station (ISS-9 and ISS-10), on proposals related to the flight program of the eleventh expedition (ISS-11) and the eight visiting expedition (VE-8), on the Soyuz TMA-6 launch processing, the technical condition of the station and the Soyuz TMA-5 spacecraft that is operated as a part of it and which it is planned to use for returning ISS-10 and VE-8 to Earth;

Chief Designers, responsible representatives of enterprises designing and manufacturing the components of Rocket and Space Complex and onboard systems – on the questions related to the technical readiness of spacecraft, launch vehicle and Launch Complex for launch;

V.V. Tsibliev (head of Gagarin TsPK RGNII) – on the flight readiness of ISS-11 and VE-8 crews; V.V. Bogomolov (Institute of Biomedical Problems Deputy Director) – on the health state of ISS-10, ISS-11 and VE-8;

V.A. Soloviev (head of Lead Operational Control Team – LOCT, RSC Energia Deputy General Designer, pilot cosmonaut) – on the course of the ISS flight, flight control documentation readiness, LOCT personnel and crews readiness for forthcoming work on Soyuz TMA-6 docking with the station;

A.T. Goryachenkov (TsNIII of Machine-Building Deputy General Director) – on the statement of this organization of Roskosmos on ISS technical condition and Soyuz TMA-6 launch readiness .

The main ISS-11 crew consisting of two people is going in for flight: Russian cosmonaut Sergei Krikalev (ISS-11 Commander, Soyuz TMA Commander), and American astronaut John Phillips (Soyuz TMA Mission Specialist, ISS-11 Mission Specialist). Among the spacecraft crew members is European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut, Italian citizen Roberto Vittori (Spacecraft Mission Specialist-2). He will have to work onboard the station under the VE-8 program and return to Earth with the ISS-10 crew via the Soyuz TMA-5 spacecraft.

ISS-11 crew flight tasks:

  • attending operations on undocking of Soyuz TMA-5 and Progress M-52 spacecraft, docking and undocking of the Soyuz TMA-6 spacecraft, docking,
  • unloading and joint activities onboard the station with Progress M-53 and Progress M-54 vehilces, Soyuz TMA-7 docking; maintaining the station serviceability;
  • performing one spacewalk in the open space; performing the applied research program;
  • return via the Soyuz TMA-6 spacecraft.

The applied research program in the phase of ISS-11 includes performance of 40 experiments, among them under the Russian program, as well as contractual work. During VE-8 it is foreseen to perform 20 experiments, among them visual observations, medicine, biotechnology, engineering, photographic and video recording.

During the ISS-11 expedition the America Party plans to resume the flights of reusable spacecraft; Discovery STS-114 (May 15-25) and Atlantis STS-121 (July 12-21), during the second flight it being planned to start a long-term flight of ESA astronaut flight in order to check the installation and readiness of the Zvezda Service Module equipment for joint operations with the first European automated transfer vehicle (ATV) Joule Verne.

The Board of Chief Designers, having reviewed the technical condition of Soyuz TMA-6 spacecraft and station, the readiness state of the Soyuz TMA-6 spacecraft, the course of Soyuz-FG and Launch Complex preparation, the crews readiness for ISS and spacecraft flight program implementation, as well as considering the positive statements on operational readiness of the spacecraft and the station as a whole, has decided to approve:

the final results of ISS work program implementation for the passed period of time; the results of testing and the plan of forthcoming activities on Soyuz TMA-6 launch processing for the scheduled replacement of the Soyuz TMA-5 spacecraft on the station and the VE-8 expedition implementation with returning to Earth Russian cosmonaut S. Sharipov (ISS-10 Mission Specialist and Soyuz TMA-5 Commander), NASA astronaut L. Chiao (ISS-10 Commander and Soyuz TMA-5 Mission Specialist) and ESA astronaut R. Vittori (Soyuz TMA-6 Mission Specialist-2, VE-8 Mission Specialist; the program of studies and experiments in the phase of ISS-11 expedition with duration of 175 days; The VE-8 expedition program with duration of 11 days, that foresees ESA astronaut R. Vittory’s flight with performing experiments and studies developed by Russia’s scientists and ESA member countries, as well as contractual work.

The Board of Chief Designers session was held with N.I. Zelenschikov as a Chairman (RSC Energia First Deputy General Designer). In its work participated representatives of Roskosmos, NASA, ESA, industry enterprises and organizations involved in project implementation.

The Soyuz TMA-6 launch is planned for April 15, 2005, at 4:46 a.m. Moscow time.