Soyuz (rocket)

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A Soyuz FG launches the manned spacecraft Soyuz TMA-5 (Baikonur, October 14, 2004)

The Soyuz [ sʌˈjus ] ( Russian Союз , 'Union', 'association') is a Russian launch vehicle . With over 1000 missions since its first flight in 1966, it is the most flown rocket in space history . The Soyuz was developed as a further development of the first ICBM , the R-7 . Of numerous variants of the rocket, the Soyuz 2.1 types and the Soyuz ST launched from the European spaceport in French Guiana are still in use today .


The R-7 had its first successful space mission on October 4, 1957 with Sputnik 1 on board. Due to constant further development, many variants of the R-7 were created, which also became more and more powerful and reliable. The most famous and only variant of the R-7 still in use today is the Soyuz. It was created by slight modifications of the R7 variant Woschod , with the initial task of launching manned Soyuz spaceships . The differences between the two rockets were so small that some authors also assign the Vozhod to the Soyuz series. The Soyuz first take-off took place on November 28, 1966 (the Woschod had been flying since 1963). Since then, the rocket has been used to launch a wide variety of payloads, including all manned Soyuz spaceships and Progress space transporters, as well as low-flying research and military satellites and, since 1999, with additional Ikar and Fregat upper stages, commercial satellites and space probes .

From the beginning of the 21st century until 2016, the Soyuz was the most commercially successful orbital rocket in the world, and one of the most reliable with a reliability rate of 97%. It is also the only active launch vehicle in the Russian Federation approved for manned space flight. The rocket is marketed commercially by the Starsem company, which has also had it launched from the European spaceport in Kourou , French Guiana , since 2011 .


Soyuz-FG during assembly in Baikonur: Central block with boosters and payload fairing with the already integrated spaceship

The first stage of the Soyuz consists of four boosters , each with four combustion chambers and one nozzle per combustion chamber ( RD-107 ). These boosters are each 19.6 m long, have a maximum diameter of 2.68 m and weigh around 3.5 t when empty, and 44.5 t at start. They are designated as blocks B, W, G and D (after the second to fifth letters of the Cyrillic alphabet : Б, В, Г, Д).

The second stage as a central block (block A) is very similar in structure to the first stage boosters, but has an extended tank and a modified engine optimized for operation in space ( RD-108 ). This made it possible to avoid redeveloping the combustion chamber for higher pressure and higher temperatures. The step is 27.8 m long and has a maximum diameter of 2.95 m, an empty weight of 6.9 t and a mass at the start of 104.5 t. Since one had no experience with igniting stages in flight at the beginning, both stages were simply started at the same time, with all five main and twelve Vernier control thrusters (two each on the four RD-107 boosters and four on the RD-108) igniting. The engines of the first two stages burn kerosene and liquid oxygen (LOX). After two minutes, the booster will run out of fuel and be discarded. The second stage burns for another 2.5 minutes.

The power of the engines was continuously increased.

First and second stage engines of a Soyuz FG missile

The third stage of the Soyuz is powered by an RD-0110 engine with 298 kN thrust, which also burns kerosene and liquid oxygen (LOX). The stage is referred to as block I (pronounced "i", Russian И). It is connected to the second stage of the rocket, block A, by a trellis tube adapter and is ignited two seconds before the burnout of block A, which is known as a hot stage separation and pushes the main stage away from the third stage. A titanium deflector cone is installed at the end of the main stage for this purpose. The third stage is 6.74 m long, 2.66 m in diameter and weighs 2.36 t when empty and about 25 t when it takes off. The burning time is 250 s.

Erecting a Soyuz-U with Soyuz TM-31 on board, the SAS rescue system on the tip of the rocket can be seen in the foreground (Baikonur, October 2000)

During manned operations, the Soyuz also carries a rescue system (Russian система аварийного спасения , САС; in German SAS) for cosmonauts. The system consists of a complex of solid rocket rockets mounted on top of the Soyuz. In the event of a false start, they are ignited and carry the cabin with the cosmonauts out of the danger zone within a very short time. The rescue system was first used on September 26, 1983 when a Soyuz-U exploded directly on the launch table. The rescue system saved the crew of the Soyuz T-10-1 spacecraft just seconds from the explosion. Another deployment took place in 2018 on the Soyuz MS-10 mission , when the first stage separation partially failed and one of the boosters collided with the second stage. The crew was rescued unharmed. The rescue system also includes the four conspicuous rectangular components on the sides of the payload fairing. These so-called grid fins fold out when the rescue system is activated and serve for aerodynamic stabilization. Small solid rockets at the extreme tip serve to separate the payload fairing from the spaceship. With a normal take-off, the rescue system is thrown about 150 s after take-off.

Launch facilities for the Soyuz rocket exist in the Russian space stations Plesetsk and (since 2016) Vostochny as well as on Baikonur in Kazakhstan; Soyuz launches have also been possible in French Guiana (South America) since 2011 . The Center Spatial Guyanais is located near the equator, which enables the Soyuz system to have a higher payload when taking off into equaritorial or equatorial orbits with the same configuration. Manned space flights are still limited to the Baikonur launch site, as the Soyuz spacecraft has only managed emergency landings on the mainland so far. Starts from French Guiana and Vostochny, however, lead over water, and Plesetsk is too far north.

Versions of the Soyuz

Several versions of the Soyuz rocket have emerged over the years. They differed in the engines, payload fairings and fuels used. All versions had three stages and were used to move payloads into low orbits. It was not until the end of the 1990s that a fourth stage was used on the Soyuz to reach higher orbits, as the four-stage molnija previously used for this task was not flexible enough. The upper grades of Soyuz are dealt with in a separate section.

Early versions

  • Soyuz - ( GRAY index 11A511 ) - This is the original version of the Soyuz rocket, which first flew on November 28, 1966 with a Soyuz prototype (Kosmos 133) on board, and on April 23, 1967 the manned Soyuz 1 spaceship into space. The missile used RD-107 engines in the first stage, RD-108 in the second, and RD-0110 in the third. The launch mass was 308 t and the length 50.67 m. In addition to the Soyuz spacecraft, it was also used to launch numerous military satellites from the Kosmos series. The last flight took place on May 24, 1975 with the Soyuz-18 spacecraft.
  • Soyuz-L - (GRAY index 11A511L , Russian 11A511Л , Л stands for Л унный - in German 'lunar') - A Soyuz that was used to launch prototypes of Soviet lunar lander into orbit for test purposes. It differed from the Soyuz by a different payload fairing with a length of more than 12 m and a structurally reinforced central step. The launch mass was 305 t and the length 44 m. The launcher was only launched three times, the first time on November 24, 1970 and the last time on August 12, 1971. A sketch of the Soyuz-L is available here.
  • Soyuz-M - (GRAU index 11A511M , Russian 11A511М , М stands for М одифицированный - in German 'modified') - There is little information about the differences to an ordinary Soyuz since the military Soyuz-7K-WI intended for transport -Space ship was about 300 kg too heavy for the payload capacity of the normal Soyuz, in this version, in addition to various weight savings, the synthetic fuel Sintin was used instead of kerosene and the best engines (from the series distribution) were used. The Soyuz-M weighed 310 t and was 50,670 m high. Although the military Soyuz spaceship was never used, the eight rockets built were used to launch the Zenit-4MT military reconnaissance satellites into orbit. The first launch took place on December 27, 1971. The last launch of a Soyuz-M took place on March 31, 1976.


Soyuz-U with the Soyuz 19 spaceship on the launch pad (Baikonur, July 1975)
Soyuz-U with the Progress-M59 supply spaceship on the launch pad (Baikonur, January 2007)

With the Soyuz-U - (GRAU index 11A511U , Russian 11A511У , У stands for У нифицированный - in German 'unified', 'unified'), which flew for the first time on May 18, 1973, the modifications were made in the last eight years summarized in a standardized rocket. The modifications affected the rocket's engines and boosters, and the launch preparation systems were adapted to the new rocket. In addition, the fuel for the central stage was cooled, which led to a higher density and thus a greater mass of fuel. The engines were given new names: RD-117 for the first stage and RD-118 for the second. The Soyuz-U is the most widely used version of the Soyuz series, it weighed 313 t and was 51.1 m high. The payload capacity of the rocket was up to 6950 kg in a 200 km high orbit when launched from Baikonur and up to 6700 kg in a 220 km high orbit when launched from Plesetsk. This version was the most frequently used version of a launcher worldwide, with over 700 launches. On her last launch on February 22, 2017, she brought the space freighter Progress MS-05 to the ISS. It was replaced by the more modern Soyuz-FG and Soyuz-2.

The variant Soyuz-U2 - (GRAU index 11A511U2 , Russian 11A511У2 ) - Soyuz-U2 started for the first time on December 28, 1982 and, in contrast to the Soyuz-U, used synthetic kerosene (Sintin) as fuel for the central stage (block A) . The injection nozzles of the engines also had to be modified for use. These changes increased the rocket's payload by 200 kg compared to the Soyuz-U. The Soyuz-U2 flew more than 80 times and was mainly used to launch manned Soyuz spaceships. However, since the older production facilities had to be modified to manufacture Sintin and the price of the fuel would have risen, production of the Soyuz-U2 was stopped in the mid-1990s and it brought the Soyuz TM-22 spacecraft on its last flight on September 3, 1995 into orbit.

Soyuz with advanced level

In order to bring commercial satellites and space probes into high orbits, a fourth stage of rockets was added to the Soyuz. The fourth stage, together with the payload, is enveloped by the payload fairing.

Soyuz-U / Ikar

The Ikar stage was derived from the propulsion module of the Russian Kometa or Jantar-1 reconnaissance satellite and used to launch the Soyuz-U Globalstar satellite. In 1999, 24 Globalstar satellites were launched into space on six flights, four per flight. Soyuz-U / Ikar weighs 308 t and is 47,285 m high.

From 2000 the Ikar was replaced by the new and more powerful Fregat. Later, as a further development of the Ikar, the smaller Volga upper stage was created, which is mainly used with the Soyuz-2.1w rocket variant .

Soyuz / Fregat

The Fregat stage was derived from the drive module of the space probes Fobos and Mars 96 and is equipped with a modern digital control system. It is being built by the Russian company Lavochkin . Fregat can be re-ignited up to twenty times, making it ideal for launching multiple satellites in different orbits. This fact was used by ESA when it was looking for a launcher for its cluster satellites. The first launch of a Soyuz-U / Fregat took place on February 8, 2000. After another test flight, four cluster satellites were successfully launched into space on two Soyuz U / Fregat flights. Fregat was able to prove her efficiency and reliability when she took over control of the flight in good time after the third stage of the Soyuz had been switched off too early and was still able to save the mission with her excess fuel. This ended the use of the Soyuz-U / Fregat combination. The Soyuz-U / Fregat weighed 308 t, was 46.645 m high and could bring up to 2100 kg into geotransfer orbit from Baikonur .

From 2003 to 2012 the Fregat was used with the Soyuz-FG rocket version to launch space probes (e.g. Mars Express) and commercial payloads. This replaced the outdated Molnija rocket, which also had four stages and launched high-flying satellites. The Fregat has been in use with the Soyuz 2.1 since 2006 and with the Soyuz ST since 2011 .. By 2019, around 80 different Soyuz variants with the Fregat upper stage were launched.


Since 1992 the missile project "Rus" (Russian Русь ) - later called Soyuz-2 - has been pursued in Russia, which aimed to further develop the Soyuz-U. The improved rocket should have a payload capacity of around 7.5 t for near-earth orbit. Since there was no money in the Russian space budget, development of the Rus or Soyuz-2 was slow in the 1990s. (The Rus project should not be confused with the newer Rus-M project, which was completely redeveloped.)

The Soyuz-FG - (GRAU index 11A511FG , Russian 11A511ФГ ) was created as an intermediate step and transitional version between the Soyuz-U and the Soyuz-2 . The engines of the first and second stage were optimized by new injection heads and a changed mixture ratio of the propellants and were given the designations RD-107A and RD-108A. In addition, a new flight control system was installed, which allows the inclination to be changed during the ascent phase, and a new telemetry system has been integrated. A larger payload fairing is also used. The rocket is slightly more powerful than the Soyuz-U and can therefore launch the somewhat heavier Soyuz-TMA spacecraft to the ISS . ZSKB-Progress initially specified 6900 kg as the payload capacity of the Soyuz-FG when launching from Baikonur into a 200 km high orbit , later 7440 kg, corresponding to the mass of the Progress M space freighter version .

The first take-off took place on May 21, 2001 with a Progress M1 freighter. From the Soyuz TMA-1 mission to Soyuz MS-15 , all the manned flights of the Soyuz spacecraft were carried out with the Soyuz-FG. A new payload fairing (S-type, Ø 3.715 m, length 7.7 m) was also introduced for commercial launches, which was used, for example, for the launches of the Mars Express and Venus Express space probes . The additional Fregat upper stage is used to achieve high orbits .

The 60th and final flight of the Soyuz FG took place in September 2019 with the launch of Soyuz MS-15. This also ended the use of Ukrainian components in Soyuz rockets, as did the use of historic launch site 1 in Baikonur, from which the first satellite and the first human had already flown into space.

Soyuz-2.1a / b

After the initially hesitant development of the Rus / Soyuz-2 project, the turning point came after the Starsem company was founded in cooperation with the European space company Arianespace , which has since been offering the Soyuz in the west for launching commercial satellites. Soon the first initial orders came in, and with them money that could be used to further develop the Soyuz.

Soyuz-2.1a with MetOp on board

On November 8, 2004, von Plesezk successfully launched Soyuz 2.1a as the second Rus development stage after Soyuz FG. Starting with this variant, the Soyuz has a digital flight control system that replaces the old analogue control system from the 1960s. The digital control, which was originally to be used on the Soyuz-U as early as 2002, enables more flexible flight planning and more efficient fuel use, which benefits the rocket's payload capacity. From Baikonur, the Soyuz-2.1a can carry up to 7020 kg into a 200 km high orbit, and when taking off from Plesetsk up to 6830 kg into a 220 km high orbit. In addition, the third rocket stage was adapted to the new RD-0124 engine (thrust 30  kN , specific impulse 3522 Ns / kg or 359  s ), which, however, is not yet used in this rocket version.

A larger and more spacious payload fairing ("ST" type, Ø 4.11 m, length 11.433 m) was also developed for the Soyuz-2.1a. The ST payload fairing largely corresponds in size and shape to the payload fairing of the Ariane 4 . It was first used during the second Soyuz-2.1a launch on October 19, 2006, when the European weather satellite MetOp-A was launched into space using a Fregat stage.

The Soyuz-2.1b ( Союз-2.1б ) corresponds to the original plans for the Soyuz-2. It uses the improved RD-0124 engine, which increases the power of the third stage. The Soyuz-2.1b can carry up to 8,200 kg into a 200 km high orbit from Baikonur and up to 7,020 kg into a 220 km high orbit from Plesetsk. It took off for the first time on December 27, 2006 from Baikonur with the COROT space telescope.

Soyuz ST-A / B in Kourou

At the end of 2004, ESA and the Russian space agency Roskosmos agreed to launch Soyuz rockets from the newly built ELS launch pad at the European spaceport Center Spatial Guyanais near Kourou in French Guiana from 2009 . The reason for this was that the Ariane 5 is too big for many payloads.

The Soyuz was slightly modified for the new location. For example, it was equipped with a security system built by Alcatel Alenia Space , which can shut down the rocket's engines in an emergency from Earth. Furthermore, the four boosters were provided with flood valves so that they quickly sink into the sea after being separated. In addition, radar sensors were installed for flight path control. These adjustments were made for the two variants Soyuz-2.1a and Soyuz-2.1b, which are called Soyuz ST-A and Soyuz ST-B in the “Kourou version” .

The construction work on the new Soyuz launch facility was only completed in mid-2011, with ESA bearing the majority of the construction costs, which were put at 344 million euros. The first Soyuz launch in Kourou took place on October 21, 2011 in the Soyuz ST-B / Fregat variant with two Galileo navigation satellites.

Since Kourou is much closer to the equator than Baikonur, it is energetically cheaper to launch geostationary satellites from there, so that a Soyuz in Kourou has a higher payload capacity than in Baikonur or Wostochny. The payload capacity of the Soyuz-ST-A is given as 2810 kg for a geotransfer orbit and 4230 kg for an 820 km high sun-synchronous orbit . For the Soyuz ST-B, Arianespace gives 3250 kg for a geotransfer orbit, 1440 kg for a transport in a geostationary orbit and 4440 kg for an 820 km high sun-synchronous orbit .

In the mid-2020s Template: future / in 5 years, the Soyuz-ST is to be replaced by the new Ariane 62 rocket .


Model of the Soyuz 2.1w at the 2011 Paris Air Show

Since 2006 there have been talks about a further development stage of Soyuz-2, which was initially called Soyuz-1, later called Soyuz-2.3. This should use a Kuznetsov NK-33 engine in the central stage and thus resemble the Yamal / Aurora concept (see the corresponding section of this article). This engine comes from the Russian rocket N1 , which was originally intended for moon flights. Although it is no longer in production, there were still around 30 pieces left from the N1 range. The payload capacity of the Soyuz-2.3 in low earth orbits was planned to be 11 t when taking off from Baikonur or Plesetsk and 12.7 t from Kourou. By using a hydrogen-powered third and / or upper stage, the payload capacity of the rocket should be increased even further.

The first step in this direction - which ultimately remained - is the Soyuz-2.1w for smaller payloads of up to 2.4 or 3.0 t (at 98.7 ° or 82.4 ° orbit inclination in 200 km Height). With this rocket variant, the first stage boosters are omitted. Block A was lengthened and enlarged in diameter, and for the time being it received an NK-33 engine. When stocks of this type of engine are exhausted, it will be replaced by the RD-193 , a variant of the RD-191 engine of the Angara rocket . The unchanged Soyuz 2.1b third stage (Block I) was adopted as the second stage of Soyuz 2.1w, while the Fregat was replaced as an optional upper stage by the partly newly developed, much smaller Volga . The Soyuz-2.1w / Volga, for example, can bring up to 1.4 t payloads into an 835 km high sun-synchronous orbit.

The first flight of a Soyuz 2.1w took place on December 28, 2013 with the Volga stage and three small satellites as a payload, including the AIST 1 research satellite . Up to and including 2019, she only had five missions.


In 2019 it became known that the new Soyuz variant Soyuz-2M was in development. It is said to be a three-stage rocket that can be manufactured at a lower cost than the Soyuz-2.1. Russia's response to the price pressure from the US competitor SpaceX , whose Falcon 9 rocket for decades leading Soyuz since 2017 runs the rank . The Soyuz-2M is intended for the transport of two to three ton payloads in sun-synchronous orbits .

Unrealized further developments

On the basis of the Soyuz-2, several projects for more powerful missiles arose, which were not implemented due to financing problems and / or a lack of areas of application. The most famous of these will be described here.


Jamal (Russian Ямал , English Yamal ; named after the Yamal Peninsula in northwest Siberia) was the project of a launch vehicle largely based on the Soyuz, which was proposed for implementation in 1996 by RKK Energija . The developers set themselves the goal of drastically increasing the payload capacity without changing the external shape of the rocket in order to be able to continue using the Soyuz launch facilities. In addition, it should be possible to use existing production facilities for the production of the Jamal. The rocket got its name from the Jamal - communications satellites of the Russian natural gas group Gazprom , which should be started with the new missile (launch took place in 1999 with a proton ).

The first stage (the booster ) of the Yamal was to be taken over largely unchanged by the Soyuz-U. A single Kuznetsov-NK-33 was provided to drive the second stage (central stage) . In addition to the installation of the NK-33, the planned diameter of the central block of the rocket was increased to a maximum of 3.44 m (in the Soyuz 2.66 m) and its fuel load increased to 141 t (50 t more than in the Soyuz). The diameter of the third stage should also be increased, which would have allowed a fuel load of 30 t. The stage would have been powered by an RD-0124, which is also used on the Soyuz-2. In addition, the rocket was to receive a fourth stage called Taimyr (Russian Таймыр ), which is derived from the Blok-D of the Proton rocket. At the same time, the rocket should get a new and larger payload fairing.

The launch mass of the Yamal was supposed to be 374 t, so it could have been launched from the Soyuz launch facilities in Baikonur and Plesezk, which could carry rockets weighing a maximum of 400 t. The payload capacity was given as 11.8 t in a 200 km high orbit from Baikonur, 11.3 t in a 200 km high orbit from Plesezk and 1.36 t in the GEO .

Although the rocket could be developed with apparently minor modifications and already finished NK-33 engines left over from the N1, the money for it was lacking, so that Jamal was not realized. The Aurora project, an export variant of the Jamal, was also launched in 1999.


Aurora ( Аврора 'Dawn') is a variant of the Yamal that was first introduced in 1999. Aurora was to take off from a new launch facility on Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean , which belongs to Australia ; test flights were to be made beforehand from Baikonur. The costs for the construction of the plant and the infrastructure were put at the equivalent of around 500 million US dollars and should be borne by private investors. Aurora should primarily be used to launch commercial communications satellites in the mid-mass segment. However, after some preparatory work, funding for the project was suspended.

The Aurora concept was only slightly different from Jamal. The most important differences are an improved NK-33-1 engine in the central stage and an even more spacious payload fairing. NK-33-1 is a variant of the NK-33 that would have had an extendable nozzle. The nozzle should be extended further at a height of about 10 km in order to better adapt the engine to different phases of the flight. This alone should increase the rocket's payload capacity by around 2%. In addition to the NK-33-1, an RD-0124R engine equipped with four combustion chambers was to be installed in the central stage to control the rocket. This is a variant of the RD-0124 used later for the Soyuz 2.1w. Since this type of control proved to be technically difficult to implement, it was decided not to develop the RD-0124R and instead use the NK-33-1 swiveling engine, for which the universal joint of the RD-0120 engine of the Energija rocket would have been used . In the first stage (booster) RD-107A engines from Soyuz-FG should be used and the third stage should be powered by an RD-0154. The RD-0154 would have been a variant of the RD-0124 with a combustion chamber; the engine should be pivoted and have an extendable nozzle. As a fourth stage, Korwet (Russian Корвет , English Corvet , Corvette ') was planned, similar to Jamal, a stage derived from Block D of the Proton rocket, which was to be powered by an 11D58MF engine. The curb weight of the Korwet stage was planned with 1649 kg, the fuel load with 10 t. The rocket should fly in both three-stage (low orbits) and four-stage (high orbits) configurations. The launch mass of the four-stage variant should be 379 t.

The improvements to the rocket and the relocation of the launch site closer to the equator should increase the Aurora's payload capacity to 11,860 kg in a 200 km orbit with an orbit inclination of 11.3 °. In geotransfer orbit, 4,350 kg should be possible, and in direct transport in geostationary orbits 2,600 kg.


The Onega (Russian Онега , named after the river Onega ) was proposed by RKK Energija in 2004 as the future carrier for the new manned spacecraft Kliper . Their payload capacity was given as around 14.5 t for near-earth orbit. A fluid drive with kerosene and LOX was planned for the booster and the central block , with the RD-191 , the main engine of the Angara , being used in the latter . For the third stage, however, a high-energy drive with liquid oxygen and hydrogen (LOX / LH2) was planned; the RD-0146 engine was to be developed for this purpose. The fourth stage called Jastreb (Russian Ястреб ' Habicht ', English Yastreb ) for use in high orbits would have been operated with LOX / LH2. This stage would have used an RD-0126 or an RD-0126E engine (a variant of the RD-0126 with a modified nozzle). The launch mass of the Onega should be 376 t. When launching with Kliper, a three-stage version without a payload fairing should be used, with Kliper being placed on top of the rocket.

Since in the course of 2004 the Russian space agency preferred an Angara rocket or, in cooperation with the Ukraine, a Zenit rocket for the transport of Kliper, the Onega project was put on hold for the time being. After the European space agency ESA had expressed its interest in the Kliper in mid-2005, Onega or a similar rocket with an NK-33-1 in the central stage under the name Soyuz-3 as a carrier was again under discussion, because it would launch the spacecraft from the European spaceport in Kourou, where there is a launch facility for the Soyuz-2 as well as an LH2 infrastructure for the Ariane 5. At the meeting of the European Space Council in December 2005, however, no funds were approved for Kliper.

Soyuz-5 to -7

Under the project name Soyuz-5 (originally Sunkar , also Irtysch ), Roskosmos began in 2013 with the design of a new rocket family that is no longer based on the R-7, but is to be built by RKZ Progress . The design includes four rocket variants with payload capacities of 3, 9, approx. 17 and 26 tons when transported in low earth orbits (LEO). Both the Soyuz-2 and the obsolete Proton and the no longer available Ukrainian-Russian Zenit missile could be replaced with it.

Since then, the names and designs for this family of rockets have changed. Until the beginning of 2019, a two-stage Soyuz-5 with one RD-171M first stage engine and two RD-124s as the upper stage engine was planned. The height of this rocket was given by Roskosmos as 61.9 meters or 65.9 meters including the spacecraft Federazija . The LEO payload capacity when taking off from Baikonur should be 17 or 18 t; 5 t were planned for GTO starts. A first start has been announced for 2022.

In summer 2019, this rocket was renamed Soyuz-6 with unchanged performance data and the first flight date was postponed to 2025; The name Soyuz-5 was instead given the next smaller variant with 9 t LEO and 2.3 t GTO payload capacity. In both models, the RD-0146 engine, already planned for the Onega, is to be used in the upper stage and operated with liquid acid and hydrogen. The first test flight of the "new" Soyuz-5 has been Template: future / in 3 yearsannounced for 2023 .

At the beginning of 2020, the name Soyuz-5 was again understood as a rocket with 17 t LEO capacity. In addition, Roskosmos announced a variant called Soyuz-7, which will start from the floating platform Sea Launch instead of the Zenit .

The smallest variant should be called "Soyuz-5 Light" and be reusable.

Build and start

Soyuz-FG with Soyuz TMA-5 during assembly in Baikonur. You can see the central block with the boosters, the smaller third stage and the payload fairing with the already integrated spaceship
Soyuz TMA-13 ​​straightening up
Soyuz TMA-14 on the launch pad before takeoff

The Soyuz is marketed by Starsem and built by the Russian manufacturer TsSKB-Progress (Samara Space Center). The rocket parts supplied by various companies are assembled horizontally in a special assembly and test building. In Kourou, the erection takes place shortly after leaving the assembly building. For climatic reasons, the rocket will be surrounded by an additional mobile maintenance tower up to the launch pad. After the (fully refueled and equipped) payload has been put down, a special vehicle moves the rocket by rail to the launch platform about 2 km away. Only there the rocket is hydraulically brought into its vertical position, aligned exactly in the later take-off direction (inclination) on the rotating launch table and suspended in the launch platform above the approximately 25 m deep pit. The rocket is not on the launch table, but is attached to the four arms about at the height of the ends of the booster, which made it possible to build the rocket less stable and thus (due to the reduced structural mass) easier. In addition, the two halves of the maintenance and control tower are now brought into position. The final countdown begins about eight hours before the start. The rocket is usually refueled a few hours before takeoff. For manned missions, the crew arrives about two and a half hours before take-off and takes a seat in the spaceship. The maintenance towers are folded back one hour before take-off and the independent power supply is switched on and the rescue system activated 15 minutes before take-off . The automatic start is initiated six minutes before the start, the cable mast and the refueling mast are swiveled away. Two and a half minutes before take-off, tanks are pressurized with nitrogen gas and 45 seconds before take-off they are completely switched over to the internal power supply. The start command is given 20 seconds before take-off ( point of no return ), three seconds later the engines ignite and three seconds before take-off the engines reach their full power. Now the booms open up like flowers due to their own weight and due to the fact that the weight of the rocket is no longer due to its thrust during launch. About 118 seconds later the boosters and after 226 seconds the payload fairing is thrown off. After 288 s the second stage is burnt out and is thrown off and after 295 s the lower part of the casing of the third stage, which continues to work up to second 528 and then separates. In the case of unmanned missions with a fourth stage, it ignites at about 588 second. During the starting process, accelerations of up to 4.3 g occur shortly before the first stage is cut off and again just under 3.5 g shortly before the third stage burns out.

Technical specifications

version R7 Soyuz Soyuz U Soyuz-U2 Soyuz-FG Soyuz-2.1a
Soyuz ST-A
Soyuz ST-B
stages 2 3 3-4 3 3-4 2-3
First stage 4 × RD-107 4 × RD-117 4 × RD-107A 1 × NK-33
1 × RD-0110R
Second step 1 × RD-108 1 × RD-118 1 × RD-108A 1 × RD-0124
Third step - 1 × RD-0110 1 × RD-0124 -
Thrust (on the ground) 3904 kN 4038 kN 4030 kN 4088 kN 4143 kN 1780 kN
Takeoff mass 280 t 308 t 313 t 305 t 311 t 157 t
Height (maximum) 34 m 50.67 m 51.1 m 49.5 m 50.7 m 44 m
Payload ( LEO 200 km) 1 - 6.45 t 6.95 t 7.15 t 7.44 t 7.02 t
8.2 t
9.0 t
2.4-3.0 t
Payload ( GTO ) 1 - - 2.1 t - - 1.8 t
2.81 t
3.25 t
1 At the start of Baikonur or Kourou


The boosters of the first stage of the Soyuz rockets, which take off from Baikonur, go down in the Kazak steppes, where they are salvaged and recycled by scrap collectors.

Start list

All launches that have been made since 1990 are listed on the Soyuz rocket launch list .

See also

Web links

Commons : Soyuz (rocket)  - album with pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Matthew Bodner: Soyuz investigators hone in on booster separation, promise conclusions Oct. 20. In: Spacenews. October 12, 2018, accessed October 12, 2018 .
  2. ^ Sketch of the Soyuz-L ( memento of February 24, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) on
  3. Soyuz 11A511M in the Encyclopedia Astronautica (English)
  4. Chris Gebhardt: Longest-serving rocket in history bids farewell with Progress MS-05 launch. In: February 22, 2017, accessed February 22, 2017 .
  5. Soyuz-FG Launch Vehicle ( Memento from April 24, 2013 in the Internet Archive )
  6. Источник: на Байконур отправили последний "Союз" с украинскими деталями. In: RIA Novosti. April 17, 2019, Retrieved April 5, 2019 (Russian).
  7. Stephen Clark: Russians ready unpiloted Soyuz capsule for launch. In: Spaceflight Now. August 22, 2019, accessed August 27, 2019 .
  8. Alcatel: Alcatel Alenia Space to provide onboard equipment for Soyuz-Fregat launchers , June 22, 2006.
  9. ^ Successful double premiere in Kourou. In: FliegerRevue. December 2011, pp. 38-40.
  10. a b Galileo: Europe readies itself for October launch. Arianespace, May 23, 2011, accessed on May 28, 2011 (English): “The two Galileo satellites will be deployed using a Soyuz launcher. The October launch will mark Soyuz 'inaugural flight from its new launch facilities at the CSG. "
  11. a b c d e f g h RKTs Progress: Launch Vehicles , accessed on September 18, 2019.
  12. Soyuz User Manual by Arianespace, May 2018 (PDF).
  13. Earth Explorer 9 Candidate Mission FORUM - Report for Mission Selection. (PDF; 17 MB) ESA, June 21, 2019, p. 121 , accessed on September 25, 2019 : "… Ariane 6.2, which will replace Arianespace Soyuz in the 2025 timeframe."
  14. Soyuz-2-3 launch vehicle , accessed January 1, 2014.
  15. William Graham: Soyuz 2-1v conducts surprise military launch ., July 10, 2019.
  16. Volgar Upper Stage at RKZ Progress, accessed on September 20, 2019.
  17. maiden flight with a new rocket and upper stage. accessed on January 1, 2014.
  18. Roscosmos to Build Cheap Soyuz-2M Rocket for Commercial Satellites Launch Service. In: Space Daily. September 13, 2019, accessed September 17, 2019 .
  19. Anatoly Zak: Russia's new-generation rocket gets go ahead . Russian Space Web, accessed September 30, 2019.
  20. ^ Irtysh (Soyuz-5, Sunkar). In: Gunter's Space Page. Retrieved March 12, 2019 .
  21. Twitter message from Roscosmos, March 12, 2019 (Russian).
  22. Роскосмос принял эскизный проект новой ракеты-носителя «Союз-5». In: Russian Parliament newspaper, April 11, 2018, accessed March 12, 2019 .
  23. Bart Hendrickx: Russia's evolving rocket plans. In: The Space Review. September 5, 2017, accessed March 12, 2019 .
  24. Рогозин рассказал о новых ракетах "Союз-5" и "Союз-6". In: RIA Novosti. September 6, 2019, accessed September 17, 2019 .
  25. Начало испытаний ракеты "Союз-6" на Байконуре запланировали на 2025 год. In: RIA Novosti. September 7, 2019, accessed September 30, 2019 .
  26. Roscosmos to offer new modification of Soyuz-5 rocket for Sea Launch floating spaceport . TASS, February 4, 2020.
  27. Источник: "Морской старт" планируют перебазировать из США на Дальний Восток. In: RIA Novosti. April 16, 2019, Retrieved April 16, 2019 (Russian).
  28. The new old ramp. In: FlugRevue. April 2010, pp. 70-73.
  29. Peter Stache: Soviet missiles. 1987, ISBN 3-327-00302-5 .
  30. Soyuz User Manual (ArianeSpace) ( Memento from August 13, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF; 7 MB)
  31. Bernd Leitenberger: The Soyuz launcher. accessed on September 18, 2019.
  32. Boris Reitschuster: rocket collector. Focus Online, August 11, 2003, accessed May 17, 2017 .
This version was added to the list of articles worth reading on July 23, 2005 .