Soyuz programme: Wikis


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Soyuz spacecraft from the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project

The Soyuz programme (Russian: Союз, pronounced [soˈjus], meaning "Union") is a human spaceflight programme that was initiated by the Soviet Union in the early 1960s. It was originally part of a Moon landing programme intended to put a Soviet cosmonaut on the Moon. Both the Soyuz spacecraft and the Soyuz rocket are part of this programme, which is now the responsibility of the Russian Federal Space Agency. The Soyuz system is the oldest and the most reliable means of space transportation to date.


Soyuz rocket

Soyuz rocket on launch pad.

The launch vehicles used in the Soyuz expendable launch system are manufactured at the Progress State Research and Production Rocket Space Center (TsSKB-Progress) in Samara, Russia. As well as being used in the Soyuz programme as the launcher for the manned Soyuz spacecraft, Soyuz launch vehicles are now also used to launch unmanned Progress supply spacecraft to the International Space Station and commercial launches marketed and operated by TsSKB-Progress and the Starsem company. There were 11 Soyuz launches in 2001 and 9 in 2002. Currently Soyuz vehicles are launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan and the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in northwest Russia. Starting in 2009 Soyuz launch vehicles will also be launched from the Guiana Space Centre in French Guiana.[1]

Soyuz spacecraft

The basic Soyuz spacecraft design was the basis for many projects, many of which never came to light. Its earliest form was intended to travel to the moon without employing a huge booster like the Saturn V or the Soviet N-1 by repeatedly docking with upper stages that had been put in orbit using the same rocket as the Soyuz. This and the initial civilian designs were done under the Soviet Chief Designer Sergei Pavlovich Korolev, who did not live to see the craft take flight. Several military derivatives actually took precedence in the Soviet design process, though they never came to pass.

A Soyuz spacecraft consists of three parts (from front to back):

There are several variants of the Soyuz spacecraft, including:


The Zond spacecraft was another derivative, designed to take a crew traveling in a figure-eight orbit around the Earth and the moon but never achieving the degree of safety or political need to be used for such.

Finally, the Progress series of unmanned cargo ships for the Salyut and Mir space laboratories used the automatic navigation and docking mechanism (but not the re-entry capsule) of Soyuz.

As of 2007, Soyuz derivatives provide Russia's human spaceflight capability and are used to ferry personnel and supplies to and from the International Space Station.

While not a direct derivative, the Chinese Shenzhou spacecraft follows the basic template originally pioneered by Soyuz.[2][3]


Soyuz manned flights

See List of Soviet and Russian manned space missions

Soyuz unmanned flights

Flights 1 - 5 Flights 6 - 10 Flights 11 - 15 Flights 16 - 20 Flights 21 - 26
1. Cosmos 133 6. Cosmos 212 11.Cosmos 396 16.Cosmos 638 21.Soyuz 20
2. Launch failure 7. Cosmos 213 12.Cosmos 434 17.Cosmos 656 22.Cosmos 869
3. Cosmos 140 8. Cosmos 238 13.Cosmos 496 18.Cosmos 670 23.Cosmos 1001
4. Cosmos 186 9. Soyuz 2 14.Cosmos 573 19.Cosmos 672 24.Cosmos 1074
5. Cosmos 188 10. Cosmos 379 15. Cosmos 613 20. Cosmos 772 25. Soyuz T-1
26. Soyuz TM-1

See also




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