Soyuz TMA-014M and crew are launched and dock with ISS and then “sticky” solar array unfurls

by | Sep 26, 2014 | International Space Station, NASA, Russia, Soyuz | 0 comments

A crew carrying spacecraft, SOYUZ TMA-014M/ISS-40S, was launched to the International Space Station (ISS) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, near Tyuratam, Kazakhstan at 2025 GMT on 25 September 2014.  The three-person crew consisted of cosmonauts Alexander Samokutyaev and  Elena Serova, with NASA astronaut Barry (Butch) Wilmore.   Not everything went to plan.

A few minutes after launch, both solar arrays on the Soyuz craft had been due to be deployed, however the port one jammed shut.   In this condition the crew had enough power to execute their orbit raising and approach burns to the space station.  After a Kurs-system controlled automated approach, Soyuz TMA-014M successfully docked with the ISS upper Poisk docking port at 0011 GMT on 26 September 2014.  It was some time after this event that the jammed array popped out, easing concerns that the craft would not have enough power redundancy to allow a safe re-entry during its eventual return to Earth.

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