Day 2: Chasing the ISS in orbit

A successful launch for the Marco Polo mission
27 April 2002

Today the crew on board the Soyuz TM 34 spacecraft settled into the flight routine, reporting the progress of the flight every one and a half hours to the Moscow Flight Control Centre. A small orbital correction in the 17th orbit went according to plan, speeding up the Soyuz capsule’s chase of the International Space Station.

Life on the Soyuz, between communication passes and orbital manoeuvres, is quite spartan: no hot drinks or food, just canned food, a sip of tepid water and some fruit juice in tubes. As a transport vehicle, taking astronauts to the much bigger Space Station, the Soyuz fulfils its role perfectly.

The crew spoke to the various support teams here at TsUP during the course of the day, the joy of having experienced a flawless launch was the prime subject, together with some first experimental observations and housekeeping reports.

International Space Station December 2001
Chasing the ISS

At the end of the day, the astronauts were able to talk with family members linked up either by telephone or from TsUP. ESA astronaut Roberto Vittori, talking to his wife, reported to be in good shape. He also enjoyed hearing how his two children, both boys, had created their own commentary whilst watching their father’s launch on TV.

The Soyuz capsule went out of reach of the Russian ground stations in the late afternoon.

The ‘taxi’ crew will be awakened early tomorrow in preparation for a busy day. At 09:57 CEST (07:57 GMT) the Soyuz vehicle will approach the station and attempt to dock. The Soyuz TM 34 spacecraft will be connected to the nadir-pointing port of the FGB Cargo and Propulsion module, while the ‘old’ Soyuz TM 33 is docked to the PIRS docking module after the re-docking last Saturday.

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