The Russian Soyuz program

The Russian Soyuz program

Under the name Soyuz, which in Russian means union, ships and rockets are included in a program created in the early 1960s by the former Soviet Union. Unlike the contemporary American Apollo program, Russian Soyuz ships are still operational today.

The Soyuz are crewable ships that can have up to three members on board. They are launched into space by the Soyuz launch vehicle. This same vehicle has also been used to send missions outside the Soyuz program to space. This is the case of some scientific missions of the European Space Agency (ESA), such as the Mars Express probe.

Origins of the Soyuz program

The Soyuz program was designed by the Ukrainian engineer Sergey Pávlovich Koroliov. Although it was also created for manned missions to the Moon, through the Zond and N1 / L3 programs, none of its ships has ever landed. His first manned flight, Soyuz 1, was a resounding failure. In April 1967, the ship crashed to the ground after re-entry, with the death of its sole crewman, Vladimir Komarov. Despite its few flattering beginnings, the Soyuz program, due to its continuation over time, can be considered a success.

Five decades of Soyuz

For more than 50 years, the Soyuz ships have been evolving and sending new versions to space. Among the many models that have taken off since 1967, most of the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, some of them have been emblematic. Among others, the Soyuz T ship, the Soyuz 7K-OK, the Soyuz TM, the Soyuz TMA or the Soyuz LOK.

The Soyuz ships have orbited the Earth and the Moon, have traveled to the Mir and the International Space Station and have transported crews to these stations. The Soyuz eTMA-10M spacecraft took off on September 25, 2013 with Russian cosmonauts Oleg Kótov and Sergey Riazanski, and American astronaut Michael Hopkins on board. Your destination, the International Space Station (EEI).

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