Expedition 31 was the 31st long-duration expedition to the International Space Station (ISS). It began on 27 April 2012 with the departure from the ISS of the Soyuz TMA-22 spacecraft, which returned the Expedition 30 crew to Earth. The expedition ended on 1 July 2012, when crew members Oleg Kononenko, André Kuipers and Don Pettit departed from the ISS aboard Soyuz TMA-03M, marking the beginning of Expedition 32.
|Mission type||ISS Expedition|
|Space Station||International Space Station|
|Began||27 April 2012, 08:15 UTC|
|Ended||1 July 2012, 04:48 UTC|
|Arrived aboard||Soyuz TMA-03M|
|Departed aboard||Soyuz TMA-03M|
Joseph M. Acaba
(l-r) Acaba, Padalka, Revin, Kuipers, Kononenko and Pettit
(April 2012 to May 2012)
(May 2012 to July 2012)
|Commander||Oleg Kononenko, RSA|
|Flight Engineer 1||André Kuipers, ESA|
|Flight Engineer 2||Don Pettit, NASA|
|Flight Engineer 3||Joseph M. Acaba, NASA|
|Flight Engineer 4||Gennady Padalka, RSA|
|Flight Engineer 5||Sergei Revin, RSA|
Soyuz TMA-22 departure
Expedition 31 formally began on 27 April 2012, with the departure from the ISS of the Soyuz TMA-22 spacecraft. Soyuz TMA-22 successfully returned Expedition 30 astronauts Dan Burbank, Anton Shkaplerov and Anatoli Ivanishin to Earth. The ISS was left under the command of astronauts Kononenko, Kuipers and Pettit, who had arrived at the station aboard Soyuz TMA-03M on 23 December 2011.
Soyuz TMA-04M arrival
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SpaceX Dragon test mission
SpaceX's unmanned Dragon spacecraft conducted a test rendezvous with the ISS during Expedition 31, as part of NASA's Commercial Orbital Transportation Services program; it was the first commercial spacecraft to rendezvous with the ISS. Following a series of delays, Dragon launched on 22 May 2012, and berthed successfully with the ISS on 25 May, after conducting a series of orbital test manoeuvres. Dragon carried around 544 kilograms (1,199 lb) of cargo to the ISS, including food, clothing, a laptop computer and 15 student experiments. After being loaded with 660 kilograms (1,460 lb) of downmass cargo, including completed experiments and redundant equipment, it undocked from the station and returned to Earth on 31 May 2012. Dragon landed intact in the Pacific Ocean and was successfully recovered, allowing SpaceX to begin regular cargo flights to the ISS. The first such logistics mission, CRS SpX-1, launched successfully in October 2012.
Soyuz TMA-03M departure
Soyuz TMA-03M departed from the ISS on 1 July 2012, successfully returning Kononenko, Kuipers and Pettit to Earth. Their departure marked the formal end of Expedition 31, and the beginning of Expedition 32.
In popular culture
- "Soyuz TMA-22 returns to Earth with three outbound ISS crewmembers". NASASpaceflight.com, 27 April 2012.
- Harding, Pete (1 July 2012). "Soyuz TMA-03M undocks from ISS and returns to Earth". NASASpaceFlight (not associated with NASA). Retrieved 3 July 2012.
- NASA HQ (2009). "NASA and its International Partners Assign Space Station Crews". NASA. Retrieved 7 October 2009.
- NASA HQ (2010). "NASA And Partners Assign Crews For Upcoming Space Station Missions". NASA. Retrieved 8 July 2010.
- ESA astronaut André Kuipers to spend six months on the ISS starting in 2011
- "Expedition 31 crew page". NASA. Retrieved 18 November 2011.
- "Three New Crew Members En Route to Station". Latest News. NASA. Retrieved 14 May 2012.
- Harwood, William (17 May 2012). "Three-man crew docks at International Space Station". Spaceflight Now. Retrieved 17 May 2012.
- "SpaceX Dragon chokes at the last second". The Register. 19 May 2012. Retrieved 21 May 2012.
- "SpaceX Launches Private Capsule on Historic Trip to Space Station". Space.com. 22 May 2012.
- "Station grabs SpaceX Dragon ship". BBC. 25 May 2012.
- "Private cargo rocket launch a giant leap for space entrepreneur". Austin American-Statesman. 23 May 2012.
- "SpaceX Dragon Capsule opens new era". Reuters via BusinessTech.co.za. 28 May 2012.
- "Splashdown for SpaceX Dragon spacecraft". BBC. 31 May 2012.
- "Its First Mission Done, SpaceX Looks to More Private Flights". The New York Times. 31 May 2012. Retrieved 5 June 2012.
- Bergin, Chris (31 August 2012). "SpaceX conduct successful WDR on their latest Falcon 9". NASASpaceFlight.com. Retrieved 15 September 2012.
- "Liftoff! SpaceX Dragon Launches 1st Private Space Station Cargo Mission". Space.com. 8 October 2012.
- "The Friendship Contraction". The Big Bang Theory. Season 5. Episode 15. 2 February 2012. 02:20 minutes in.
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