Follow this link to skip to                                      the main content

Mission News

Text Size

Launch Update: ISS Expedition 8
Mission: ISS Expedition Crew Exchange
Launch Date: Saturday, October 18, 2003
Launch Time: 1:38 a.m. EDT
Launch Vehicle: Russian Soyuz Rocket
Location: Kazakhstan, Russia
Live Coverage: 12:30 a.m. to 2:19 a.m. EDT

Follow along with our live on orbit coverage.

18 Oct 12:30 a.m. EDT
Welcome to NASA's live web coverage of the launch of Expedition 8 aboard a Russian Soyuz rocket. Stay tuned to this page to follow key countdown and launch events as they occur. Video commentary is provided by Kyle Herring of Johnson Space Center Public Affairs Office.

Some final launch preparations began prior to the start of our live coverage. The crew received a traditional blessing from a Russian Orthodox priest before boarding a bus to carry them from their hotel to the launch site.

Upon their arrival - about 6:30 p.m. EDT - they donned their flight suits and underwent a body mass measurement. After saying goodbye to their families from behind a wall of glass, the crew participated in a final press conference. They reached the launch pad and began boarding the Soyuz at about 10:15 p.m. EDT. Kaleri is occupying the center seat, with Duque on his left and Foale on his right.

1:00 a.m. EDT
Protective gantries are being pulled back from the Soyuz rocket.

1:20 a.m. EDT
We are at T-17 minutes and counting. The ISS is located at an altitude of 250 miles off coast of South Africa. At this point the Crew has been on the rocket for about two and a half hours.

Adam Baker, Sean Fuller, John Curry and former ISS crew member Peggy Whitson make up the Houston Support Group (HSG). The HSG is interacting with their Russian counterparts to support the Expedition 8 launch.

1:33 a.m. EDT
We are at T-5 minutes from launch. Auxiliary systems are ready for launch. Kaleri's controls have been activated. They are on internal suit oxygen.

1:35 a.m. EDT
We are at 3 minutes 40 seconds from launch.

1:36 a.m. EDT
With 2 mintues and 30 seconds to go the booster tank is pressurized.

1:37 a.m. EDT
The ISS is approaching orbital sunrise, flying almost into the direct plane of Baikonur Cosmodrome.

1:38 a.m. EDT
10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 we have ignition and we have liftoff of the Soyuz rocket carrying Kaleri, Foale and Duque to their microgravity home away from home.

1:40 a.m. EDT
First stage separation was confirmed. Escape tower was jettisoned. All systems are operating nominally.

1:43 a.m. EDT
Altitude is 105 miles and third stage ignition has occurred.

1:47 a.m. EDT
The engines have shut down. Vehicle separation is complete. The Expedition 8 Crew has officially reached orbit. Observers and Controllers in Russia are cheering a successful launch.

1:50 a.m. EDT
Initial com checks are being conducted.

1:51 a.m. EDT
140 by 118 mile orbit has been reached. This will be raised over the next two days to approach the ISS.

2:19 a.m. EDT
Conclusion of live launch coverage.

Web Live Coverage Schedule for Expedition 8 Events:
(all times listed are EDT)
Date Time Event
20 Oct 2:00 a.m. ISS & Soyuz Docking
23 Oct 11:00 a.m. ISS Exp 8/7 Joint
Crew News Conference
24 Oct 2:00 p.m. ISS Exp 8/7
Change of Command Ceremony
27 Oct 2:45 p.m. Farewell, Hatch Closure,
Undocking and Landing
30 Oct 9:00 a.m. Exp 7 Post-Landing
News Conference

NASA's John F. Kennedy Space Center and Johnson Space Center
 Pictures taken of the California wild fires by Ed Lu from the ISS
Exp. 7 Crew Captures Wildfires
Before heading back to Earth, the Expedition 7 crew took two breathtaking images of the deadly wildfires raging in California.
+ View this Video
 Simluated image of the Soyuz capsule
Soyuz Landing Simulation
This animation shows the Soyuz spacecraft as it undocks from the ISS and ultimately lands.
+ View this Video
 Soyuz docked with ISS
End of Mission Overview
NASA Public Affairs Commentator Kyle Herring summarizes the Expedition 7 mission and upcoming landing.
+ View this Video
 Exp 7 and 8 Crews together before the hatch closure
Farewell and Hatch Closure
Control of the ISS is transferred from Expedition 7 to Expedition 8, and the Soyuz spacecraft hatch is closed.
+ View this Video
 Undocking of the Soyuz
Soyuz Heads Home
Yuri Malenchenko and Ed Lu of Expedition 7, along with European Space Agency astronaut Pedro Duque, are officially headed home.
+ View this Video
 Successful landing of the Expedition 7 Crew in Russia.
The Soyuz spacecraft lands successfully in Kazakhstan, returning the Expedition 7 crew and Pedro Duque to Earth.
+ View this Video
 Russian authorities gather around the Soyuz capsule after landing.
After "Touchdown" the Crew Emerges
The Exp 7 Crew and ESA Astronaut, Pedro Duque, successfully end their mission with a perfect landing in Russia.
+ View this Video
 Expedition 7 crew and ESA astronaut Pedro Duque answer questions from international news media.
Post-Landing Press Conference
Expedition 7 crew and ESA astronaut Pedro Duque answer questions from international news media.
+ View this Video
 Change of Command Ceremony on ISS
Change of Command Aboard ISS
Expedition 8 relieves Expedition 7 during a special ceremony.
+ View this Video
 Expedition crews 7 and 8 news conference
Expedition 8 and 7 News Conference
The joint crew on board the ISS answer questions from news media.
+ View this Video
 + View Archives