Day 1: Build up to the launch - photo report

Launch of Andomède mission from Baikonur
21 October 2001

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.

Up steps to Soyuz
Andromède mission crew walk up the steps to the Soyuz

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

Transport to launch pad
Transportation to the launch pad

The crew are transported by bus to the launcher, some 2.5 hours before launch.

Soyuz transfer to launch pad
Soyuz awaits

Soyuz waits on the pad. Final checks are completed ready for the arrival of the crew.

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.

Claudie preparations for launch
Claudie strapped into her chair

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.

Claudie suiting up
Claudie suiting up

Claudie is helped into her suit.

Saturday 20 October

Matrioschka dolls
Claudie presents matrioschka dolls

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!

Matrioschka dolls
The matiroschkas

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

Friday 19 October

Soyuz transfer to launch pad
Transfer of Soyuz to launch pad

05:00 a.m. Moscow time the Soyuz-U launcher, together with the Soyuz TM-33 spacecraft was rolled-out of the Assembly and Testing Facility and moved to the launch pad. There the rocket was erected after which final launch pad testing started.

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