On March 26, 2014, the Soyuz TMA-12M lifted off from Baikonur Cosmodrome with two Russian cosmonauts and one American astronaut from NASA. This is the 39th expedition to the International Space Station (ISS), during which the crew will spend 169 days in orbit. While on their expedition, the astronauts will receive several cargo ships, conduct extensive scientific experiments, including 49 experiments for the Russian program and about 170 for the American program. In addition, the Russians will also launch a Peruvian mini-satellite during a launch scheduled for August.Slava Stepanov / GELIO
The Gagarin’s Start. The R-7 rocket, the Earth's first artificial satellite, was successfully launched from here in 1957 and on April 12, 1961, the Vostok space shuttle lifted off with cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin on board.Slava Stepanov / GELIO
The test pilot and cosmonaut Oleg Artyomov checks that his space suit is hermetically sealed. He repeatedly took part in test flights for the Mars-500 program.Slava Stepanov / GELIO
NASA astronaut Steven Swanson, commander of ISS-40 and cosmonaut Oleg Artyomov.Slava Stepanov / GELIO
At the age of 53, Steven Swanson has completed two flights to space on the Atlantis and Discovery space shuttles for a combined total of 26 days. He has also flown to open space for a total of 26 hours and 22 minutes.Slava Stepanov / GELIO
Roscosmos cosmonauts Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg Artyomov with NASA astronaut Steven Swanson. 6 hours before liftoff, the crew of ISS-39/40 leaves the hotel to a song by the rock band Zemlyane (Earthlings) “The Lawn At Home” and get in the bus that will take them to the launch pad.Slava Stepanov / GELIO
The three-stage Soyuz-FG rocket delivering the Soyuz TMA-M into orbit. Liquid oxygen and kerosene are used as fuel for the engines.Slava Stepanov / GELIO
The temperature at the rocket nozzle’s exit reaches 4000° C.Slava Stepanov / GELIO
During liftoff, the cosmonauts feel up to 7 kg heavier.Slava Stepanov / GELIO
During the 117 seconds it takes to fly into space, 43.5 tons of fuel are burned and the first of the rocket’s three stages separates. The stages fall from an altitude of 50 km above land approximately 350 kilometers from the launch site. The rocket’s second and third stages start working at 287 and 528 seconds, respectively.Slava Stepanov / GELIO
It’s interesting to note that one and half hours after the launch and having already made one revolution around the Earth, the space shuttle appears over Baikonur again. But this time, at an altitude of around 200 km.Slava Stepanov / GELIO
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