Sergei Volkov, Andreas Mogensen, Aidyn Aimbetov
Kazakhstan, Baikonur Cosmodrome 45°57′54″N 63°18′18″E
2 September 2015
46 - 85 km
After a two-day solo flight, the Soyuz TMA-18M coupled with the ISS on 4th September 2015. The usual rendezvous the with ISS - which would take place on the fourth orbit around the Earth following a six-hour flight - could not be carried out, since in August 2015, the ISS had performed an evasive manoeuvre to avoid colliding with space debris. As a result the orbital altitude of the ISS was no longer suitable for an “express flight”.
Aimbetow and the Danish ESA astronaut Mogensen completed a short ISS mission and returned to Earth with Soyuz TMA-16M. With his participation in this mission, Mogensen became the first Dane to enter space.
On board ISS
This was the first time that a crew member’s stint on the ISS had been extended to approximately a year. In this case, the crew members were Michail Kornijenko und Scott Kelly, and the purpose of their stay was to better study the effects of long-term weightlessness on the body ahead of plans to conduct a manned mission to Mars. The free spot in the Soyuz spacecraft was purchased by space tourist Sarah Brightman, although she was eventually unable to join the flight. Her place was given to Aidyn Aimbetow from Kazakhstan.
Undocking & landing
Before his mission, Danish ESA astronaut Andreas Mogensen purchased a Werenbach watch privately and wore it on his journey into space. Since Andreas had no technical defects to report following the flight, Werenbach considered this the first unofficial test of the watch in space.
The Kazak cosmonoaut Aidyn Aimbetow is also the owner of a Werenbach watch. As official ambassador of the Expo 2017 on “Future Energy”, he received it as gift following his mission.
It’s because of this that Werenbach has engraved the mission name SOYUZ TMA-18M on all of its watches up to the year 2017.
No material from this rocket was recovered.