2 Taxi Flight Crew
From left are: Soyuz Commander Talgat Musabayev, Flight Engineer
Yury Baturin and Space Flight Participant Dennis Tito. Photo credit:
Russian Space Agency.
The Soyuz 2
Taxi Flight was the second flight of a Soyuz spacecraft to dock
with the International Space Station, or ISS. However, this was
the first crew to launch aboard a new Soyuz vehicle and return aboard
a previously docked Soyuz. Russian flight rules dictate that a Soyuz
remains docked to the ISS and replaced by a fresh Soyuz every six
months. Should the station's resident crew encounter an emergency
requiring them to disembark the orbital outpost, they would enter
the Soyuz lifeboat, undock from the station and de-orbit for a landing
on Earth. The Russian spacecraft is certified to remain in space
no longer than six months due to the degradation of its propellant
over time and space radiation hazards to the vehicle.
Talgat Musabayev, Flight Engineer Yury Baturin -- both cosmonauts
representing Rosaviakosmos -- and American Space Flight Participant
Dennis Tito blasted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan
at 2:37 a.m. CDT (0737 GMT) on April 28, 2001. They docked to the
station two days later on April 30, 2001, at 2:58 a.m. CDT (0758
GMT) to begin nearly eight days of docked operations with the Expedition
Two crew. The crews transferred gear and equipment from the
new Soyuz to the orbital outpost, as well as into the older Soyuz
spacecraft in which the visiting crew would return home.
its visit to the International Space Station, the three-member crew,
which included the first paying visitor on a space mission, undocked
from the aft docking port of the Zvezda Service Module in the Soyuz
TM-31 on May 6, 2001, at 9:21 p.m. CDT (May 7 at 0221 GMT). Two-and-a-half
hours later, Musabayev fired the Soyuz's engines beginning their
crew's descent to Earth where they landed on the Kazakh Steppes
at 12:42 a.m. CDT (0542 GMT) on May 7, 2001.
The previous Taxi Flight crew to the International Space Station
was actually the Expedition One crew which had launched aboard a
Soyuz TM-31 spacecraft.