Soyuz TMA-10 / ISS Expedition 15

Soyuz TMA-10The fifteenth full-time crew of the International Space Station lifts off from Russia’s Baikonur Cosmodrome aboard Soyuz TMA-10. Oleg Kotov and Fyodor Yurchikhin take up residence on the ISS for 196 days. Arriving with them on the ISS for an 11-day stay is space tourist Charles Simonyi, a Microsoft software engineer (whose successes included such widely-used software as Microsoft Word and Excel), who returns to Earth aboard Soyuz TMA-9 with the Expedition 14 crew. Like other “space tourists” before him, he has paid for his own Soyuz seat and mission training. When Kotov and Yurchikhin return in October 2007, the Soyuz suffers a dangerous malfunction, failing to jettison its service module; the result is an off-balance spacecraft that re-enters the atmosphere nose-first, exposing under-insulated portions of the vehicle to the heat of re-entry. The crew manages a survivable landing, but news of the incident is kept quiet by the Russian space program until a similar mishap occurs aboard the next Soyuz flight.