SOYUZ FG rocket will be launched with Soyuz TMA-19M to ISS. It is planned expedition with two astronauts: Tim Kopra (USA) and Timothy Peake (GB) and cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko (RUS) from Baikonur, Kazakhstan (launch site LC-1).

Different countries, different experiences. Sounds like trivia but it well describes  expedition 46/47 for ISS with launch planned from Baikonur on 15th December 2015. On Soyuz TMA-19M: Tim Kopra, Timothy Peak and Yuri Malenchenko will fill out expedition 46 crew. Tim Kopra is designated as mission commander (after Scott Kelly return to Earth) with reason. He is experienced engineer and astronaut (with little less than 60 days on ISS and with passed first spacewalk) but not necessary  the best cyclist – he was assigned to mission in 2011 but bicycle accident and broken hip made it impossible. Yuri Malenchenko is experienced cosmonaut. His first flight was in 1994 to MIR space station and since now he passed successfully through 6 flights. He is most experienced of the whole crew – and famous because of one more reason – He is only man ever married in outer space. Timothy Peake is a novice. It will be his first space flight and first flight of British citizen into space (without private contract…). Mission ending is planned for May 2016.

Soyuz-FG belongs to R-7 rocket family. Its maiden flight was in 2001, and since 2002 it is designated by Russian Federal Space Agency to launch manned Soyuz-TMA spacecrafts. It could be considered as a good decision – since now Soyuz-FG has 100% success ratio. Soyuz-FG is height for 49.5 m, with weight at 305000 kg and payload at 7100 kg. First stage with one liquid fueled RD-108A engine (thrust at 792,48 kN) is supported by four liquid fueled boosters with one RD-107 engine each. Second stage is powered by one RD-0110 engine with thrust at 297.93 kN. Soyuz TMS-19M spacecraft is modified TMA version. Main improvement was reducing weight for about 70 kg and improving Argon computer and analog navigation systems (which remained virtually unchanged since first Soyuz flight in 1967) to modern digital systems with LCD displays. This resulted in easier control and operating the spacecraft. Construction was also upgraded in terms of manufacturing – now it is manufactured with aluminum alloy instead magnesium alloy. Probably it will be one of the last upgrades of Soyuz spacecraft – first manned flight of new generation Russian spacecraft called PTK-NP is planned for year 2024.


Tim Kopra, Expedition crew getting set for December launch to International Space Station