Soyuz TMA-8 / EXP.-13

Crew & Mission

(JSC2006-E-00224 - 22 Dec. 2005) - Attired in Russian Sokol launch and landing suits, the next crew to launch to the International Space Station pauses from its training schedule in Star City, Russia to pose for a crew portrait. From the left are Brazilian Space Agency astronaut Marcos C. Pontes; cosmonaut Pavel V. Vinogradov, Expedition 13 commander, representing Russia's Federal Space Agency; and NASA astronaut Jeffrey N. Williams, Expedition 13 Flight Engineer and Science Officer. The crew will launch on the Soyuz TMA-8 spacecraft from Baikonur, Kazakhstan in March 2006. Pontes is flying under a commercial agreement with Russia's Federal Space Agency and will return to Earth April 1 with the Expedition 12 crew that has been on the station since October 2005.


MKC patch

The crew for Soyuz TMA-8 was wearing a new Zvezda patch on their Sokols for their offical picture, showing the abbrevation 'MKC' (Mezhdunarodnaya Kosmicheskaya Stantsiya - International Space Station). The same sort of Zvezda emblem patch had been used during flights to the Salyut and Mir Space Stations - the ISS Sokols up to that point had an 'empty' Zvezda patch. The MKC patch was fabricated by Alex Panchenko and produced by Shanghai Dingsheng Fabric Co. It was never worn on the flight Sokols by any Soyuz crew.

Soyuz TMA-8 History and Artwork

On December 9, 2005, Alex Panchenko sent out an e-mail with a link to his website, where pictures of Expedition-13 crew members Pavel Vinogradov and Jeff Williams could be seen, wearing the 'approved' Expedition 13 patch and a 'proposed' Soyuz TMA-8 patch, showing a rocket flying through a ring. To the chagrin of patch collectors, there were two Expedition-13 patches produced - a red bordered one for Vinogradov and a blue bordered one for Williams. Later, Ab Emblem came up with a yellow bordered version. It was the shape of things to come.

On January 12, 2006, a new TMA-8 patch made by Alex Panchenko could be seen during the preflight crew conference in Houston. Panchenko pointed out that this would be the version that would go on the Sokol suits. No clear reason for the switch was given, but to make things worse for collectors, this new Soyuz patch also came in three different colors.

Panchenko: ,,Soyuz TMA-8 patch is my joint design with flight commander Pavel Vinogradov. This simple and colorful design presents National flags of Russia, United States of America and Brazil. Along with crew it was decided to make flight patch personal for each crew member. Soyuz commander Pavel Vinogradov will use Red line patch. Flight engineer astronaut Jeff Williams will have Blue line patch. First Brazilian cosmonaut Marcos Pontes will have Silver line patch.''

The TMA-8 flightpatches were produced by Shanghai Dingsheng Fabric Co.
(Copyright of the patches Alex Panchenko)

Pavel Vinogradov

Marcos Pontes

Collecting Soyuz TMA-8

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