Soyuz TMA-2 / ISS Expedition 7

Soyuz TMA-2The seventh full-time crew of the International Space Station lifts off from Russia aboard Soyuz TMA-2, a drastic change from their original mission plan. Originally planned to be another short-term “ferry flight” to swap out the station’s Soyuz lifeboat vehicle, Soyuz became the only way to send full-time crews to the station during the post-Columbia-disaster grounding of the American shuttle fleet. Yuri Malenchenko and Ed Lu took up residence aboard the ISS for 184 days, returning in October 2003 with Spanish astronaut Pedro Duque. With the shuttle fleet landlocked, two-man ISS crews became the norm, as three-man crews relied on the greater resupply capacity of the shuttles.