Soyuz TMA-4 lifts off for the International Space Station

By Keith Cowing
April 18, 2004
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Soyuz TMA-4 lifts off for the International Space Station

Image: astronaut Michael Fincke waves during ascent.

Soyuz TMA-4 lifted off on time from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Monday at 9:19 am local time. The crew is now in orbit.

Aboard the spacecraft are Expedition 9 crew members Russian cosmonaut Gennady Padalka and American astronaut Michael Fincke, and ESA astronaut Andre Kuipers.

Planned docking with ISS will be on Wednesday, 21 April at 05:03 GMT.

Kuipers will spend nine days at the ISS before returning to Earth with the current crew, Expedition 8, on 29 April.

According to a NASA source: “Orbit was attained at L+ 9 min. as planned and all deployment events (antennas, solar arrays, docking probe) were nominal and on time, automatically upon booster separation sensor signal.

Before the launch, ISS Program Director Bill Gerstenmaier met with the Russian deputy designer to discuss safety aspects of Soyuz 8S and the on-orbit Soyuz TMA-3/7S, reassuring himself that both vehicles are indeed ready for safe flight.

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