On April 15, 2005, at 04 hours 46 minutes 25 seconds the spaceship Soyuz TMA-6 took off from the space center Baykonur. The eleventh international expedition consisting of Russian crew commander Sergey Krikalyov, American flight engineer John Phillips and an astronaut from the European Space Agency, Italian Roberto Vittori, will deliver the pennant of OJSC North-West Telecom to the International Space Station.
Staffed with the best astronauts of Russia, Europe and the U.S., the 11th expedition on the International Space Station is one of the most experienced crews in the history of space exploration. Each astronaut has already been in orbit and 46-year-old twice Hero of Russia Sergey Krikalyov has a record of five takeoffs. It’s his sixth flight and he has to work in space for almost 21 months. The oldest crew member, American military pilot and scientist John Phillips is 54. This is his second space flight. During his first flight aboard the spaceship Endeavor he took part in assembling the International Space Station. This star expedition will be also the second one for 40-year-old astronaut, test-pilot Roberto Vittori who visited the station three years ago on a ten-day mission.
The cooperation of the company with the Russian Cosmonautics Federation and the support of many events by this public organization made the space flight of the NWT pennant possible. Cosmonautics has for decades enhanced the development of the most advanced technical sectors in the country, such as physics, chemistry, electronics, telemechanics and, of course, telecommunications. Many interesting and important hi-tech developments exist thanks to the space exploration. Examples are the satellite television and the use of satellite channels for fixed and mobile communications.
Vladimir Akulich, Chief executive officer of North-West Telecom, commented on this event as follows: “By cooperating with the Cosmonautics Federation, North-West Telecom supports the powerful intellectual, scientific and technical potential of the country and contributes to the scientific and technical progress. The symbolic presence of NWT in space is the aspiration of the company to achieve a high level of telecommunications development”.
The Russian Federation Cosmonautics Federation is the nationwide association with about 60 regional branches, uniting more than 330 space industry organizations. It is a voluntary public noncommercial association whose aim is to promote cosmonautics and use its achievements in science, technology, industry and agriculture.