Soyuz carrier and spaceship erected at 31st pad Baikonur
BAIKONUR, October 21 (Itar-Tass) — Russian Soyuz carrier rocket and the spaceship of the same name, which will deliver to the International Space Station a new long expedition, was erected at Baikonur’s 31st launch pad.
"The transportation and installation of Soyuz-FG launch vehicle Soyuz TMA-06M, attached to it, were nominally," – Roscosmos’ representative at the southern spaceport said on Sunday.
The gates of the assembly and test facility opened at 07:30 local time /5:30 Moscow time/. A locomotive guarded by the police, armoured vehicles, and fire-extinguishing vehicles delivered to the launch site the Soyuz-FG launch vehicle with Soyuz TMA-06M attached to it.
Dozens of journalists, specialists in space industry, foreign tourists and VIP-guests watched the transportation of a 50-meter "cigar" bearing emblems of Roscosmos, Rocket and Space Corporation Energia and the flags of Russia and the U.S. on its fairing.
The Federal Space Agency /Roscosmos/ said the missile launch is scheduled for 14:51 Moscow time on October 23. During the remaining days before the launch, experts will make final checking of the final booster and Soyuz TMA-06M attached to it, and will fuel the carrier.
On Monday, October 22, the State Commission will adopt finally the crew to start to the ISS. In anticipation of the committee’s meeting, the main crew of ISS-33/34 - Russians Oleg Novitsky, Yevgeny Tarelkin and NASA’s astronaut Kevin Ford, as well as their backups Pavel Vinogradov, Alexander Misurkin and Christopher Cassidy conduct final pre-flight training, do physical exercises and get fresh air during daily walks.
The 31th launch site was used for the first time to test R-7A intercontinental ballistic missile in January of 1961. All subsequent years this site was used for launches of spacecrafts: Meteor, Molniya, Prognoz, Resurs-0, IRS, some satellites of the Cosmos series and military satellites. Launches of Soyuz manned spacecrafts from this pad were made in the 1970s and early 1980s.
Until recently, while only two manned Soyuz and 3-4 cargo Progress flew to the ISS a year, for all manned launches used only the 1st pad, but as the number of launches grew to ten or more, the reserve pad, the 31st, will be used in addition. The current launch is the first launch from the 31st pad under the International Space Station programme.