Day 1: Build up to the launch - photo report
Sunday 21 October 2001, 10:59:35 CET - Andromède taxi flight launched
11:08 Message from Claudie inside the cockpit following completion of launch sequence: "Thank you to all, we are now in orbit, everything went very well"...
If you were watching the launch transmission, you would have seen what looked liked a large dice inside the Soyuz vehicle 'cockpit' during launch. These are not only a good luck charms, these little toys allow the crew to identify when they have reached microgravity conditions, since they start to float.
10:59:35 CET Perfect-lift-off of Andromède Taxi flight exactly on schedule.
A last cheerful wave as the crew of three enter the Soyuz module. Top to bottom:
Commander Viktor Afanassiev
Flight Engineer Claudie Haigneré
Flight Engineer Konstantin Kozeev
The crew are transported by bus to the launcher, some 2.5 hours before launch.
A short pre-launch press conference of the Soyuz TM-33 crew was held, and also the ceremony of reporting crew readiness for launch to the Chairman of the State Commission V.V. Alaverdov.
Early this morning, the crews arrived at the launch pad to get suited up. Their suit air tightness and functioning was checked out and is monitored constantly. Doesn't look too comfortable.
Saturday 20 October
French astronaut Claudie Haigneré, right, and her Russian crewmates Viktor Afanasyev, centre, and Konstantin Kozeyev look at matrioshkas, traditional Russian dolls, depicting the crew.
During a press conference held in Baikonur on Saturday 20 October, Claudie Haigneré gave a gift, on behalf of ESA, to each of her crew members - a hand-painted matrioschka doll (produced by Serena Technology Ltd., a Moscow-based company) depicting Soyuz 'taxi' Commander Victor Afanassiev, Flight Engineer Konstantin Kozeev and Claudie herself. The presentation aroused much laughter and smiles from Claudie's fellow crew as each marvelled at the near resemblance. Similar matrioschkas have been produced for previous space flight missions and indeed the intention is to keep the tradition going!
The State Commission met and approved the makeup of the Soyuz TM-33 crews.
The prime crew is:
- Viktor Afanasiev, Commander
- Konstantin Kozeev, Flight Engineer
- Claudie Haigneré, Flight Engineer
The back-up crew:
- Sergei Zaletin, Commander
- Nadezhda Kuzhelnaya, Flight Engineer