Crew Responsibilities

The Soyuz vehicle can accommodate a crew of two to three. The crew is led by a commander and is assisted by a flight engineer. A second flight engineer or cosmonaut researcher occupies the third seat. The crew sits in custom-built, shock-absorbing, reclined seats in the descent module.

(Credit: ESA-S.Corvaja)

The crew commander sits in the middle seat and:

  • is responsible for all Soyuz vehicle operations
  • assumes primary responsibilities for mission completion, crew activities and crew safety
  • is the ultimate authority in contingency situations
  • monitors overall system and vehicle structural status
  • performs all vehicle system manual and semi-manual modes
  • controls/monitors vehicle dynamic operations (ascent, rendezvous, approach, docking, descent, manual attitude manoeuvres)
  • maintains ground communications
  • assures proper function of personal life support system
  • oversees vehicle disembarkment following landing or splashdown

The flight engineer sits to the left of the commander and:

  • is primary crew, assisting the commander, and is co-pilot
  • assumes primary responsibilities for vehicle systems and proper crew interaction with those systems (especially during contingencies)
  • assists commander during contingency situations
  • maintains operation of the radio and TV systems in nominal and contingency situations
  • measures and calculates relative motion parameters should KURS (rendezvous systems) fail
  • performs systems control, supervised by the commander
  • assures proper function of personal life support system
  • performs vehicle disembarkment following landing or splashdown

The second flight engineer or cosmonaut researcher or passenger sits to the right of the commander and:

  • maintains operation of the radio and TV systems in nominal and contingency situations
  • maintains ground communications
  • assures proper function of personal life support system
  • performs vehicle disembarkment following landing or splashdown

Or, if their training is limited, a cosmonaut researcher or passenger sits to the right of the commander and:

  • has an assignment based on his or her level of training
  • performs additional functions as instructed by the commander, flight engineer and Mission Control
  • maintains ground communications
  • assures proper function of personal life support system
  • performs vehicle disembarkment following landing or splashdown