The launch of Soyuz TM-13

On 2 October 1991 scores of politician, functionaries and watchers from the former Soviet Union congregated in Baikonur to attend the launch of Soyuz TM-13. Austria was represented through a delegation headed by the Federal Chancellor Dr. Franz Vranitzky. The delegation involved behind others the Vice Chancellor and the Federal Minister of Science and Research Dr. Erhard Busek, the Minister of Defence Dr. Werner Fasslabend, the former Federal Minister of Science and Research Univ.-Prof. Dr. Hans Tuppy and the burgomaster of Graz Alfred Stingl.

Leave-taking of the AUSTROMIR-91 crew with Toktar Aubakirov, Aleksandr Volkov and Franz Viehboeck (from left to right). Photo: BMBWK, Vienna
The AUSTROMIR-91 Crew says goodbye to the public the last time befor it leaves up with the elevator. In the background the launch complete Soyuz-Rocket can be seen. Photo: BMBWK, Vienna

At 05:00 CET (08:00 local time) two hours before the launch the Austrian-Soviet crew, consisting of the commander Alexandr Volkov, the board engineer Toktar Aubakirov and the scientific cosmonaut Franz Viehboeck climbed the space transporter Soyuz TM-13. Up to the launch all systems of the rocket and the capsule were folded a check. All tests ran positive and the automatic countdown was started.

The cable- and tanktowers were moved from the rocket. Turbopumpaggregats went on line, the ignition mechanismn of the rocket was activated. The chambers of the first and the second step were fired. The power engine won power.

At 06:59 CET (09:59 lokal time) the Soyuz launch vehicle with the space transporter Soyuz TM-13 left off to the space station MIR.

The Soyuz launch vehicle with the Austrian-Soviet crew left off from Baikonur successfully at 06:59 CET (09:59 lokal time). Photo: BMBWK, Vienna

The docking of Soyuz TM-13 at the orbital station MIR took place on 4 October 1991 at 08:40 CET.

The flight routing center had radio and TV-contact with the crew and the cadre of the space station (commander Anatoli Arzebarskij, board engineer Sergej Krikaljov). The last two hours before docking were as follows:

05:26 – 05:49Radio communication with the crew during the 32nd orbit of Soyuz TM-13
05:28 – 05:46TV-transmission of the flight parameters
06:05 – 08:40Orientation and reversing of the orbital complex before docking, stabilized flight of the complex
06:15 – 08:10Autonomous approximation of the space transporter to the orbital complex
06:54Switch-on of the approximation system on board of the space transporter Soyuz TM-13
06:56 – 07:24Radio communication with the crew during the 33th orbit of Soyuz TM-13
06:58 – 07:20TV-transmission of the flight parameters
06:59Switch-on of the approximation system “Course” on board of the orbital complex
07:54 – 08:42Radio communication with the crew over the relay satellite
08:10 – 08:33Fly round of the orbital complex through the space transporter and “attach” in a distance of 90 – 120 m
08:26 – 08:57Radio communication with the crew during the 34th orbit (32219th orbit of the space station MIR)
08:32 – 08:51TV-transmission of the outside fixed camera and the flight parameters considering the approximation- and docking process from board of the space transporter
08:33 – 08:40Docking sequence
08:39 – 08:46TV-transmission of the flight parameters from board of the space station MIR
08:40C O N T A C T
08:40 – 08:57Realization of the coupling maneuver
08:57 – 10:10Check of the docking connection`s impermeability, change for the crew in the crew unit of the space transporter, doff and dehumidify of the spacesuits, pressurization between space transporter and space station
10:10 – 10:20Opening of the hatch, change for the international crew into the space station
Chart of the approximation and coupling of the transporter Soyuz TM-13 at the orbital complex MIR. Chart: BMBWK, Vienna

So began the six days lasting habitation of the Austrian-Soviet crew on the orbital station MIR.