Press release of December 21, 2011

21 december 2011

In December 21, 2011at 05.16.15 p.m. (Moscow time) manned Soyuz-TMA-03M spaceship was successfully launched by Soyuz-FG carrier from Gagarin launching site, in Baikonur cosmodrome.
Soyuz-FG launcher was developed and produced at TsSKB-Progress.
The spaceship is meant for long-duration crew No 30/31 delivery to ISS. The crew consists of Oleg Kononenko, Russian cosmonaut (spaceship commander), Andre Kaupers, ESA astronaut (flight engineer), and Donald Pettit, NASA’s astronaut (flight engineer-2).
Oleg Kononenko worked as a design-engineer at TsSKB-Progress since 1988 till 1966. In March 29, 1966 he was chosen as a candidate to cosmonauts of TsSKB-Progress by the chief inter-departmental commission.
O. Kononenko is going to take aboard a flag of Samara region commemorating 160th anniversary of the region and ‘Volzhskaya kommuna’ newspaper of 13.04.1961 with Y.Gagarin’s autograph. O.Kononenko said “Yury Gagarin read that newspaper, signed it and I will bring it back to samara with my signature”. Afterwards, the newspaper will be in TsSKB-Progress museum.