Expedition 11 Launch
Expedition 11 Commander Sergei Krikalev, Flight Engineer and NASA Science Officer John Phillips and European Space Agency astronaut Roberto Vittori of Italy blast off aboard the Soyuz TMA-6 spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, Friday, April 15, 2005, for a two-day trip to the International Space Station. Krikalev and Phillips will spend six months on the Station, replacing Expedition 10 Commander Leroy Chiao and Flight Engineer Salizhan Sharipov, while Vittori will spend eight days on the Station under a commerical contract between ESA and the Russian Federal Space Agency, returning to Earth with Chiao and Sharipov on April 25. Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)
Over its sixty-year history, primarily classified military The Soviet space program was responsible for a number of pioneering accomplishments in space flight, including the first intercontinental ballistic missile (R-7), first satellite (Sputnik 1), first animal in Earth orbit (the dog Laika on Sputnik 2), first human in space and Earth orbit (cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin on Vostok 1), first woman in space and Earth orbit (cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova on Vostok 6), first spacewalk (cosmonaut Alexey Leonov on Voskhod 2), first Moon impact (Luna 2), first image of the far side of the moon (Luna 3) and unmanned lunar soft landing (Luna 9), first space rover (Lunokhod 1), first sample of lunar soil automatically extracted and brought to Earth (Luna 16), and first space station (Salyut 1). Further notable records included the first interplanetary probes: Venera 1 and Mars 1 to fly by Venus and Mars, respectively, Venera 3 and Mars 2 to impact the respective planet surface, and Venera 7 and Mars 3 to make soft landings on these planets.