The Soyuz-TMA is a recent revision of the Soyuz spacecraft
Soyuz spacecraft
Soyuz , Union) is a series of spacecraft initially designed for the Soviet space programme by the Korolyov Design Bureau in the 1960s, and still in service today...

, superseded in 2010 by the Soyuz TMA-M.
(T – транспортный – Transportnyi – meaning transport, M – модифицированный – Modifitsirovannyi – meaning modified, A – антропометрический, – Antropometricheskii meaning anthropometric
Anthropometry refers to the measurement of the human individual...

It is used by the Russian Federal Space Agency
Russian Federal Space Agency
The Russian Federal Space Agency , commonly called Roscosmos and abbreviated as FKA and RKA , is the government agency responsible for the Russian space science program and general aerospace research. It was previously the Russian Aviation and Space Agency .Headquarters of Roscosmos are located...

 for human spaceflight
Human spaceflight
Human spaceflight is spaceflight with humans on the spacecraft. When a spacecraft is manned, it can be piloted directly, as opposed to machine or robotic space probes and remotely-controlled satellites....

. The spacecraft features several changes to accommodate requirements requested by NASA
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation's civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research...

 in order to service the International Space Station
International Space Station
The International Space Station is a habitable, artificial satellite in low Earth orbit. The ISS follows the Salyut, Almaz, Cosmos, Skylab, and Mir space stations, as the 11th space station launched, not including the Genesis I and II prototypes...

, including more latitude in the height and weight of the crew and improved parachute systems. It is also the first expendable vehicle to feature a "glass cockpit
Glass cockpit
A glass cockpit is an aircraft cockpit that features electronic instrument displays, typically large LCD screens, as opposed to the traditional style of analog dials and gauges...

." Soyuz-TMA looks identical to the earlier Soyuz-TM
The Soyuz-TM crew transports were fourth generation Soyuz spacecraft used for ferry flights to the Mir and ISS space stations...

 spacecraft on the outside, but interior differences allow it to accommodate taller occupants with new adjustable crew couches.


A Soyuz spacecraft consists of three parts (from front to back):
  • A spheroid
    A spheroid, or ellipsoid of revolution is a quadric surface obtained by rotating an ellipse about one of its principal axes; in other words, an ellipsoid with two equal semi-diameters....

     orbital module
    Orbital module
    The orbital module is a portion of spacecraft used only in orbit. These have developed from the Soviet Soyuz spacecraft.-Soyuz orbit module:The orbit module is a spherical part of Soviet-Russian Soyuz space ship series...

  • A small aerodynamic reentry module
    Reentry capsule
    A reentry capsule is the portion of a spacecraft which returns to Earth following a space flight. The shape is determined partly by aerodynamics; a capsule is aerodynamically stable falling blunt end first, which allows only the blunt end to require a heat shield for atmospheric reentry. Its shape...

  • A cylindrical service module
    Service module
    A service module is a spacecraft compartment containing a variety of support systems used for spacecraft operations. Usually located in the uninhabited area of the spacecraft, the service module is jettisoned upon the completion of the mission, and usually burns up during atmospheric reentry...

     with solar panels attached

The first two portions are habitable living space. By moving as much as possible into the orbital module, which does not have to be shielded or decelerated during atmospheric
Earth's atmosphere
The atmosphere of Earth is a layer of gases surrounding the planet Earth that is retained by Earth's gravity. The atmosphere protects life on Earth by absorbing ultraviolet solar radiation, warming the surface through heat retention , and reducing temperature extremes between day and night...

 re-entry, the Soyuz three part craft is both larger and lighter than the two part Apollo spacecraft
Apollo spacecraft
The Apollo spacecraft was composed of five combined parts designed to accomplish the American Apollo program's goal of landing astronauts on the Moon by the end of the 1960s and returning them safely to Earth...

's command module
Apollo Command/Service Module
The Command/Service Module was one of two spacecraft, along with the Lunar Module, used for the United States Apollo program which landed astronauts on the Moon. It was built for NASA by North American Aviation...

. The Apollo command module had six cubic meters of living space and a mass of 5000 kg; the three-part Soyuz provided the same crew with nine cubic meters of living space, an airlock, and a service module for the mass of the Apollo capsule alone. This does not consider orbital module that could be used instead of LEM in Apollo.

Soyuz can carry up to three cosmonauts
An astronaut or cosmonaut is a person trained by a human spaceflight program to command, pilot, or serve as a crew member of a spacecraft....

 and provide life support for them for about 30 person days. The life support system provides a nitrogen/oxygen atmosphere at sea level partial pressures. The atmosphere is regenerated through KO2 cylinders, which absorb most of the CO2
Carbon dioxide
Carbon dioxide is a naturally occurring chemical compound composed of two oxygen atoms covalently bonded to a single carbon atom...

 and water
Water is a chemical substance with the chemical formula H2O. A water molecule contains one oxygen and two hydrogen atoms connected by covalent bonds. Water is a liquid at ambient conditions, but it often co-exists on Earth with its solid state, ice, and gaseous state . Water also exists in a...

 produced by the crew and regenerates the oxygen, and LiOH cylinders which absorb leftover CO2.

The vehicle is protected during launch by a nose fairing, which is jettisoned after passing through the atmosphere. It has an automatic docking system. The ship can be operated automatically, or by a pilot independently of ground control.

Orbital Module (BO)

The forepart of the spacecraft is the orbital module (: бытовой отсек (BO), Bitovoy otsek) also known as Habitation section. It houses all the equipment that will not be needed for reentry, such as experiments, cameras or cargo. Commonly, it is used as both eating area and lavatory. At its far end, it also contains the docking port. This module also contains a toilet, docking avionics and communications gear. On the latest Soyuz versions, a small window was introduced, providing the crew with a forward view.

A hatch between it and the descent module can be closed so as to isolate it to act as an airlock if needed, cosmonauts exiting through its side port (at the bottom of this picture, near the descent module). On the launch pad, they have entered the spacecraft through this port.

This separation also lets the orbital module be customized to the mission with less risk to the life-critical descent module. The convention of orientation in zero gravity differs from that of the descent module, as cosmonauts stand or sit with their heads to the docking port.

Reentry Module (SA)

The reentry module (: спускаемый аппарат (СА), Spuskaemiy apparat (SA)) is used for launch and the journey back to Earth. It is covered by a heat-resistant covering to protect it during re-entry
"Re-Entry" was the second album released by UK R&B / Hip Hop collective Big Brovaz. After the album was delayed in May 2006, the band finally release the follow-up to "Nu Flow" on 9 April 2007...

. It is slowed initially by the atmosphere, then by a braking parachute, followed by the main parachute which slows the craft for landing. At one meter above the ground, solid-fuel braking engines mounted behind the heat shield
Heat shield
A heat shield is designed to shield a substance from absorbing excessive heat from an outside source by either dissipating, reflecting or simply absorbing the heat...

 are fired to give a soft landing. One of the design requirements for the reentry module was for it to have the highest possible volumetric efficiency (internal volume divided by hull area). The best shape for this is a sphere, but such a shape can provide no lift, which results in a purely ballistic reentry
Ballistic reentry
A ballistic reentry is a type of atmospheric reentry of an artificial vehicle that relies solely on drag within the atmosphere to slow the vehicle....

. Ballistic reentries are hard on the occupants due to high deceleration and can't be steered beyond their initial deorbit burn. That is why it was decided to go with the "headlight" shape that the Soyuz uses — a hemispherical forward area joined by a barely angled conical section (seven degrees) to a classic spherical section heat shield. This shape allows a small amount of lift to be generated due to the unequal weight distribution. The nickname was coined at a time when nearly every automobile headlight was a circular paraboloid.

Service Module (PAO)

At the back of the vehicle is the service module (: приборно-агрегатный отсек, Priborno-Agregatniy Otsek (PAO)). It has an instrumentation compartment (: приборный отсек, Priborniy Otsek (PO)), a pressurized container shaped like a bulging can that contains systems for temperature control, electric power supply, long-range radio
Radio is the transmission of signals through free space by modulation of electromagnetic waves with frequencies below those of visible light. Electromagnetic radiation travels by means of oscillating electromagnetic fields that pass through the air and the vacuum of space...

 communications, radio telemetry, and instruments for orientation and control. The propulsion compartment (: агрегатный отсек, Agregatniy Otsek (AO)), a non-pressurized part of the service module, contains the main engine and a spare: liquid-fuel propulsion systems
Spacecraft propulsion
Spacecraft propulsion is any method used to accelerate spacecraft and artificial satellites. There are many different methods. Each method has drawbacks and advantages, and spacecraft propulsion is an active area of research. However, most spacecraft today are propelled by forcing a gas from the...

 for maneuvering in orbit and initiating the descent back to Earth. The ship also has a system of low-thrust engines for orientation, attached to the intermediate compartment (: переходной отсек, Perekhodnoi Otsek (PkhO)). Outside the service module are the sensors for the orientation system and the solar array, which is oriented towards the sun by rotating the ship.

Re-entry procedure

Because its modular construction differs from that of previous designs, the Soyuz has an unusual sequence of events prior to re-entry. The spacecraft is turned engine-forward and the main engine is fired for de-orbiting fully 180° ahead of its planned landing site. This requires the least propellant for re-entry, the spacecraft traveling on an elliptical Hohmann orbit to a point where it will be low enough in the atmosphere to re-enter.

Early Soyuz spacecraft would then have the service and orbital modules detach simultaneously. As they are connected by tubing and electrical cables to the descent module, this would aid in their separation and avoid having the descent module alter its orientation. Later Soyuz spacecraft detach the orbital module before firing the main engine, which saves even more propellant, enabling the descent module to return more payload. In no case can the orbital module remain in orbit as an addition to a space station, for the hatch enabling it to function as an airlock is part of the descent module.

Re-entry firing is done on the "dawn" side of the Earth, so that the spacecraft can be seen by recovery helicopters as it descends in the evening twilight, illuminated by the sun when it is above the shadow of the Earth.

Spacecraft systems

  • Thermal Control SystemSistema Obespecheniya Teplovogo Rezhima, SOTR - Cистема Обеспечения Теплового Режима, COTP
  • Life support system
    Life support system
    In human spaceflight, a life support system is a group of devices that allow a human being to survive in space.US government space agency NASA,and private spaceflight companies...

    Kompleks Sredstv Obespecheniya Zhiznideyatelnosti, KSOZh - Комплекс Средств Обеспечения Жизнедеятельности, KCOЖ
  • Power Supply SystemSistema Elektropitaniya, SEP - Система Электропитания, CЭП
  • Communication and Tracking Systems – Rassvet (Dawn) radio communications system, Onboard Measurement System (SBI), Kvant-V spacecraft control, Klyost-M television system, Orbit Radio Tracking (RKO)
  • Onboard Complex Control SystemSistema Upravleniya Bortovym Kompleksom, SUBK - Система Управления Бортовым Комплексом, СУБК
  • Combined Propulsion SystemKompleksnaya Dvigatelnaya Ustanovka, KDU - Комплексная Двигательная Установка, КДУ
  • Chaika-3 Motion Control SystemSistema Upravleniya Dvizheniem, SUD - Cистема Управления Движением, СУД
  • Optical/Visual Devices (OVP)- VSK-4 (Vizir Spetsialniy Kosmicheskiy-4 - Визир Специальный Космический-4 ),Night Vision Device (VNUK-K, Visir Nochnogo Upravleniya po Kursu - ВНУK-К, Визир Ночного Управления по Курсу), Docking light, Pilot's Sight (VP-1, Vizir Pilota-1 - ВП-1, Визир Пилота-1), Laser Range Finder (LPR-1, Lazerniy Dalnomer-1 - ЛПР-1, Лазерный Дальномер-1)
  • Kurs rendezvous system
  • Docking SystemSistema Stykovki i Vnutrennego Perekhoda, SSVP - Система Стыковки и Внутреннего Перехода, ССВП
  • Teleoperator Control ModeTeleoperatorniy Rezhim Upravleniya, TORU - Телеоператорный Режим Управления, ТОРУ
  • Entry Actuators SystemSistema Ispolnitelnikh Organov Spuska, SIO-S - Система Исполнительных Органов Спуска, СИО-С
  • Landing Aids KitKompleks Sredstv Prizemleniya, KSP - Комплекс Средств Приземления, КСП
  • Portable Survival KitNosimiy Avariyniy Zapas, NAZ - Носимый Аварийный Запас, НАЗ
  • Soyuz launch escape system
    Launch escape system
    A Launch Escape System is a top-mounted rocket connected to the crew module of a crewed spacecraft and used to quickly separate the crew module from the rest of the rocket in case of emergency. Since the escape rockets are above the crew module, an LES typically uses separate nozzles which are...

    Sistema Avariynogo Spaseniya, SAS - Система Аварийного Спасения, САС

Soyuz TMA-M

The final planned flight of the baseline Soyuz-TMA design is Soyuz TMA-22
Soyuz TMA-22
Soyuz TMA-22 is a current flight to the International Space Station . TMA-22 was the 111th flight of a Soyuz spacecraft, and transported three members of the Expedition 29 crew to the ISS...

, launched November 14, 2011 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome
Baikonur Cosmodrome
The Baikonur Cosmodrome , also called Tyuratam, is the world's first and largest operational space launch facility. It is located in the desert steppe of Kazakhstan, about east of the Aral Sea, north of the Syr Darya river, near Tyuratam railway station, at 90 meters above sea level...

's Gagarin's Start
Gagarin's Start
Gagarin's Start is a launch site at Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, used for the Soviet space program and now managed by the Russian Federal Space Agency....

 launch pad in Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan , officially the Republic of Kazakhstan, is a transcontinental country in Central Asia and Eastern Europe. Ranked as the ninth largest country in the world, it is also the world's largest landlocked country; its territory of is greater than Western Europe...

, at 04:14:03 UTC. The new modernized Soyuz TMA-M series was developed and built by RKK Energia as an upgrade of the baseline Soyuz-TMA. Thirty-six obsolete pieces of equipment have been replaced with 19 new-generation devices and the vehicle's total mass has been reduced by 70 kilograms (154 lbs). In particular, the reliable but heavy (70 kg) Argon digital computer and analogue systems, which has been used on Soyuz ships for more than 30 years, has been replaced with a new digital computer, the TsVM-101, and digital avionics. Power consumption has been reduced throughout the ship. There are also changes to the spacecraft's structure, such as replacing the magnesium alloy used in the instrument module frame by aluminum alloy, to make the ship easier to manufacture.

The modernized Soyuz will also enable engineers to test new equipment which may also be used in Russia's next generation manned space ship
Prospective Piloted Transport System
PPTS , unofficially called Rus, is a project being undertaken by the Russian Federal Space Agency to develop a new-generation manned spacecraft...

 that is currently under development.

NASA astronaut Scott Kelly, part of Soyuz TMA-01M's crew, praised the ship's new displays, saying that they make flying easier and less operator intensive.

Two flight development flights have been launched: Soyuz TMA-01M
Soyuz TMA-01M
- Backup crew :- Spacecraft :Soyuz TMA-01M is the first spacecraft of the new modernized Soyuz TMA-M series, developed and built by RKK Energia as an upgrade of the baseline Soyuz-TMA, which has been in use since 2002. 36 obsolete pieces of equipment have been replaced with 19 new-generation...

 on Oct 7, 2010 and Soyuz TMA-02M
Soyuz TMA-02M
Soyuz TMA-21 was a Soyuz flight to the International Space Station . It transported three members of the Expedition 27 crew to the ISS, and docked at the station on 6 April 2011. TMA-21 is the 109th flight of a Soyuz spacecraft, the first of which launched in 1967...

 on Jun 7, 2011. The third ship, Soyuz TMA-03M
Soyuz TMA-03M
Soyuz TMA-03M is a planned 2011 flight to the International Space Station. It will transport three members of the Expedition 30 crew to the International Space Station. TMA-03M will be the 112th flight of a Soyuz spacecraft, the first flight launching in 1967, and the third flight of the modernised...

 will be used for qualification tests. In addition to verifying the nominal operation of the spaceship, the testing will include verification of off-nominal modes, such as manual atitude control, issuing of orbital maneuvering pulses using four berthing and attitude thrusters, and flying around the ISS in manual control mode.

External links

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