August 10, 2003: Yuri Malenchenko and Ekaterina Dmitrieva marry. The marriage took place while Ekaterina was in Texas and Yuri was 240 miles above New Zealand on the International Space Station (ISS). Yuri was the first person to marry while in space. He was born in Khrushchev, Ukraine (then USSR) on December 22, 1961. He served as a military pilot from 1983 until 1987 when he was chosen to enter the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center. After graduating, he trained as commander of the reserve crew or backup commander for three different Mir voyages. His maiden trip to space came on July 1, 1994 when he and Talgat Musabayev lifted off aboard the Soyuz TM-19 spacecraft with Malenchenko in command. They docked with Mir two days later. The men became the 16th resident Mir crew with Malenchenko in command. They remained in space until November 4.
Malenchenko also lifted off from Kennedy Space Center aboard the Space Shuttle Atlantis on September 8, 2000. He was a mission specialist and again after two days, the Shuttle connected – this time with the ISS. The mission was to bring supplies to the ISS and prepare for the first resident crew’s arrival. The mission lasted for twelve days and a week of that time was spent inside the ISS.
His next trip into space began with lift off of the Soyuz TMA-2 spacecraft from Baikonur Cosmodrome on April 26, 2003. They arrived at the ISS on April 28 and Malenchenko served as Soyuz commander. After docking they exchanged crew and became the seventh station crew with the mission as Expedition 7. The Space Shuttle fleet was not flying due to the Columbia disaster and so the crew was reduced to just two, Malenchenko and Ed Lu from NASA. It was the third spaceflight for both men. They performed 15 experiments while in space as well as routine maintenance on the ISS. Supplies were delivered in June and in August. On this day, a wedding ceremony was held. The space trip lasted for a while longer with the return to Earth on October 28.
Malenchenko and Lu had worked together prior to this flight when they were together on STS-106. While on that mission they both went for space walks. While Malenchenko and Lu were up in the ISS, the Chinese were able to successfully launch the Long March rocket carrying the Shenzhou 5 spacecraft and Chinese astronaut Yang Liwei. Mike Fossum gave the news to the two men in space. Malenchenko went up on Expedition 16 and accumulated another 192 days in space. In total, he has 641 days, 11 hours, and 11 minutes in space with 30 hours and 7 minutes of that time spent in actual space. He and his wife have one child.
It’s really some exciting news to share. The world’s spacefaring nations have been joined by a new member tonight: China. – Mike Fossum
First off, we want to congratulate them. The more people that go into space, the better off we all are. This is a great achievement and good for everyone in the long run. – Ed Lu
Welcome to space. Have a safe journey. – Ed Lu (in Chinese)
I would also like to say I love to have somebody else in space instead of me and Ed. I also know this is great for thousands and thousands of people from China. I congratulate all of them. – Yuri Malenchenko
Also on this day: Smile, You’re on Candid Camera – In 1948, Candid Camera came to television.
Swedish Navy – In 1628, the Vasa sunk on her maiden voyage.
James Smithson – In 1846, the Smithsonian Institution was chartered.
Scat! – In 1755, the Expulsion of the Acadians began.
The Louvre – In 1793, the museum opened.