Soyuz spacecraft gets ready for 100th mission

The Soyuz spacecraft is undergoing a final series of checks in preparation for take-off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Sunday. It will head into orbit for the latest expedition to the International Space Station. The crew includes American

The Soyuz TMA-13, which is going on its 100th journey, will take the 18th expedition to the ISS on October 12. It is due to return to Earth next April.

Aleksandr Zheleznyakov, from the “Energia” Space Rocket Corporation, said the spacecraft “is going to last as long as we want it to”.

“The reliability designed into it is so high that it’s been flying in manned mode for more than forty years since 1967, and it still has a great future.”

The crew consists of Garriot, Russian cosmonaut Yury Lonchakov (flight engineer) and American astronaut Michael Fincke (commander).  

The shuttle will be fuelled only several hours before the launch.

The world’s third space tourist, Gregory Olsen, was also watching preparations for the launch at Baikonur.

“This is the first time I’ve seen it actually rolled up,” he said. “It amazes me how efficient Russian people are at putting these things together.”

Amazingly, the launch pad is the same one used when the first ever cosmonaut, Yury Gagarin, travelled into space onboard Vostok-1 in 1961.
 
It’s planned that during the 175 day long stay in space, the expedition will carry out 46 experiments in different fields.  

Sunday’s lift off is scheduled at 11:01am Moscow time. 

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