Russians Toast Success of International Space Station


International Space Station will celebrate one more record in its orbital life on November 2, 2010 – 10 years of human space mission. Soyuz TM-31 docked to the station’s Zvezda module on Nov. 2, 2000. Since then, the crews have been constantly working in the orbital outpost.

ISS-1, with station commander William Shepherd, Soyuz commander Yury Gidzenko and flight engineer Sergey Krikalev flew from Baikonur on Oct. 31, and arrived at the station two days later. Their main task was to prepare the ISS for future crew operations.

Equipping the station, ISS-1 were laying grounds for long-term human missions and wide range of scientific experiments for at least 15 years.

“On the occasion of this jubilee I would like to emphasize the role of Russian space industry in the ISS program. Our Soyuz delivered the first crew to the station, and it remains the most reliable and proven vehicle in the project,” Head of the Russian Federal Space Agency Anatoly Perminov states. “Currently, the vehicles built by Russian space companies continue transport support of the ISS, when the station crew comprises 6 members – representatives of Russia, the USA, Canada, Japan and Europe.”

Four Soyuzes fly to the ISS annually. Russian party has taken full responsibility for crew transportation in the program.

“To commemorate the 10th jubilee of the ISS human mission, Roscosmos companies launched Soyuz TMA-M with modified systems,” Anatoly Nikolaevich notes.

Flight tests of the new-series Soyuz TMA-M began on Oct. 8. The vehicle successfully completed necessary maneuvers, and docked to the station automatically.

“For 10 years, Soyuzes have provided not only crew transportation, but also beaten served as safe haven in the program. Most probably, ISS would have hardly beaten the record of Mir,” Roscosmos Head adds.

The crews were permanently flying the in Mir orbital station for 3641 days. The ISS record was set on Oct. 22, at 11:13 MSK.

Since beginning of the ISS human mission, more than 190 people from Russia, the USA, Canada, Italy, France, Japan, South Africa, Belgium, Spain, Holland, Brazil, Germany, Sweden, Malaysia, South Korea visited the station.

“Our today’s objectives are even more complicated than 10 years ago», Perminov states. «Once US shuttles stop flying in 2011, Roscosmos will fully support crew rotation. In addition, recent meeting of the agencies heads decided to prolong station’s orbital life till 2020. ISS is a scientific lab today; it is an orbital facility for validation of the future missions to other planets and space objects.”

Russian crews of the ISS carry out research constantly, with about 50 experiments within an expedition. The results are applied in medicine, biotechnology, ecology and other branches.

“The humankind entered new era of human space flights with beginning of the first expedition in the ISS on Nov. 2, 2000. I would like to congratulate our international partners, employees of the Russian space industry on this significant date», Roscosmos Head concluded. «I hope that cooperation of different nations developed in the ISS program will continue for many years, both in this project and in other advanced space exploration initiatives.”