Human Spaceflights

International Flight No. 283

Soyuz TMA-03M



Patch Soyuz TMA-02M Patch PROMISSE

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Launch, orbit and landing data

Launch date:  21.12.2011
Launch time:  13:16:14.190 UTC
Launch site:  Baikonur
Launch pad:  1
Altitude:  391 - 406 km
Inclination:  51.64°
Docking ISS:  23.12.2011, 15:19:14 UTC
Undocking ISS:  01.07.2012, 04:47:43 UTC
Landing date:  01.07.2012
Landing time:  08:14:41.2 UTC
Landing site:  47°20'56.3" N, 69°32'47.4" E

walkout photo

Crew Soyuz TMA-03M

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No.   Surname Given names Position Flight No. Duration Orbits
1  Kononenko  Oleg Dmitriyevich  Commander 2 192d 18h 58m 28s  3007 
2  Kuipers  André  Flight Engineer 2 192d 18h 58m 28s  3007 
3  Pettit  Donald Roy  Flight Engineer 3 192d 18h 58m 28s  3007 

Crew seating arrangement

1  Kononenko
2  Kuipers
3  Pettit
Soyuz TMA spacecraft
1  Kononenko
2  Kuipers
3  Pettit

Backup Crew

No.   Surname Given names Position
1  Malenchenko  Yuri Ivanovich  Commander
2  Williams  Sunita Lyn "Suni"  Flight Engineer
3  Hoshide  Akihiko  Flight Engineer
Crew Soyuz TMA-03M backup
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Launch vehicle:  Soyuz-FG (No. 2M135S L15000-039)
Spacecraft:  Soyuz TMA-03M (TMA-M No. 703)


Launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome. Landing 146 km southeast of Dzheskasgan. ISS Expedition 30 / 31.

Following a two-day solo flight Soyuz TMA-03M docked to ISS on December 23, 2011. Oleg Kononenko, André Kuipers and Donald Pettit became the ISS Expedition 30 (together with ISS Expedition 29 crew members Daniel Burbank, Anton Shkaplerov and Anatoli Ivanishin).

The Soyuz spacecraft is composed of three elements attached end-to-end - the Orbital Module, the Descent Module and the Instrumentation/Propulsion Module. The crew occupied the central element, the Descent Module. The other two modules are jettisoned prior to re-entry. They burn up in the atmosphere, so only the Descent Module returned to Earth.
The deorbit burn lasted 256 seconds. Having shed two-thirds of its mass, the Soyuz reached Entry Interface - a point 400,000 feet (121.9 kilometers) above the Earth, where friction due to the thickening atmosphere began to heat its outer surfaces. With only 23 minutes left before it lands on the grassy plains of central Asia, attention in the module turned to slowing its rate of descent.
Eight minutes later, the spacecraft was streaking through the sky at a rate of 755 feet (230 meters) per second. Before it touched down, its speed slowed to only 5 feet (1.5 meter) per second, and it lands at an even lower speed than that. Several onboard features ensure that the vehicle and crew land safely and in relative comfort.
Four parachutes, deployed 15 minutes before landing, dramatically slowed the vehicle's rate of descent. Two pilot parachutes were the first to be released, and a drogue chute attached to the second one followed immediately after. The drogue, measuring 24 square meters (258 square feet) in area, slowed the rate of descent from 755 feet (230 meters) per second to 262 feet (80 meters) per second.
The main parachute was the last to emerge. It is the largest chute, with a surface area of 10,764 square feet (1,000 square meters). Its harnesses shifted the vehicle's attitude to a 30-degree angle relative to the ground, dissipating heat, and then shifted it again to a straight vertical descent prior to landing.
The main chute slowed the Soyuz to a descent rate of only 24 feet (7.3 meters) per second, which is still too fast for a comfortable landing. One second before touchdown, two sets of three small engines on the bottom of the vehicle fired, slowing the vehicle to soften the landing.

Graphics / Photos

Soyuz TMA spacecraft Soyuz TMA landing module
crew in training crew in training
Soyuz TMA-03M rollout Soyuz TMA-03M erection
Soyuz TMA-03M on launch pad Soyuz TMA-03M launch
Soyuz TMA-03M launch Soyuz TMA-03M onboard ISS
Soyuz TMA-03M landing Soyuz TMA-03M landing
Soyuz TMA-03M recovery  


Last update on March 29, 2020.