Taking part in the Soyuz mission Eneide are Commander Sergei Krikalev (Roscosmos), the Italian astronaut Roberto Vittori (ESA) as Flight Engineer, and John Phillips (NASA) as Second Flight Engineer.
For Vittori, this is his second trip to the Space Station: in 2003, he took part in the Marco Polo mission, also on board a Russian Soyuz spacecraft.
The Eneide Mission will last ten days, of which eight days will be spent in orbit on the International Space Station.
Eneide is an ESA mission sponsored by the Italian Ministry of Defence and by the Lazio Region, and supported by Finmeccanica and the Roman Chamber of Commerce (CCIAA) on the terms of the agreement between ESA and Roscosmos.
The main objectives of the mission are:
* Exchange the ISS emergency return vehicle: the Soyuz TMA-5 will be replaced by the Soyuz TMA-6
The Soyuz TMA spacecraft acts as a lifeboat to be used by the crew of the ISS in emergencies. This spacecraft has to be replaced every six months, in order to ensure the integrity of the on-board systems. The Soyuz TMA-5, which carried the tenth crew of the Station into orbit (Expedition 10), will be exchanged for the Soyuz TMA-6, which will carry the Italian ESA astronaut Roberto Vittori, and the Expedition 11 crew. The Soyuz TMA-5 will take Expedition 10 back to Earth together with Vittori after a six months stay in space.
* Exchange the tenth crew, on board the Space Station for six months
Following the accident with Space Shuttle Columbia in February 2003, the Soyuz TMA spacecraft is the only space vehicle used for human spaceflight. The purpose of the Soyuz missions is to carry the new crews into space and bring astronauts back to Earth once they have completed their stay in orbit. The Expedition 10 crew, Commander Leroy Chiao and Flight Engineer Salizhan S. Sharipov, have been on board the Space Station since 16 October 2004. They will leave their “orbiting home” on 25 April 2005 having spent about six months in space and completed almost 3000 orbits around the Earth.They will hand over to the new crew, Expedition 11, made up of Commander Sergei Krikalev and Flight Engineer John Phillips. Like their colleagues before them, Krikalev and Phillips will also remain on the Space Station for about six months.
* Perform an experimental programme of scientific interest
In his eight days on board the International Space Station, ESA astronaut Roberto Vittori will work on a full programme of scientific experiments. About 40 hours will be dedicated to experimental activities. Vittori will also perform various educational activities for the purpose of stimulating interest in students and to involve them in one of the most interesting challenges of modern times: the conquest of space. Most of the experiments have been developed by Italian researchers and built by Italian industry and research institutions.
* Expand the experience of European astronauts on board the Space Station
The Eneide Mission will allow the European Astronaut Corps to expand their experience of spaceflight and life in space, in preparation for the launch of the Columbus laboratory, which will be the first European operating module on boardthe Space Station.