Soyuz (spaceship)

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Soyuz TMA-7 leaving the International Space Station

Soyuz [ sʌˈjuz ] (from Russian Союз "Vereinigung, Union" as an allusion to the Soviet Union ) is the name of a series of manned Soviet , later Russian spaceships for crews of up to three people. The Soyuz developed during the 1960s in the Experimental Design Office -1 (OKB-1) under the direction of Sergei Koroljow or, since 1966, in the successor organization, the Central Design Office for Experimental Mechanical Engineering (today RKK Energija ) under Vasily Mishin , and subsequently modified several times Spacecraft became a manned ferry for the Salyut series space stations , later for the Mir and currently for the International Space Station (ISS) . The Soyuz spacecraft has been in use since 1967 and is now one of the safest transportation systems. The carrier is the Soyuz rocket, which was named after the Russian tradition of publicly naming rockets after their first payload.

Development history

Schematic representation of the Soyuz lunar orbit complex: from left 7K, 9K and 11K
Draft for Soyuz-A for the orbit of the moon in 1964 from OKB-1 Sergei Koroljows

Early projects

In 1962, under the direction of Sergei Koroljows (today RKK Energija), one of the experimental design offices of the Soviet Union, the plans for a space complex with the aim of a manned orbit around the moon, which was named Soyuz , were drawn up in OKB-1 . The complex consisted of three different types of spacecraft, designated the 7K, 9K and 11K. The 7K (originally also called Soyuz-A) was a spaceship for two men, the 9K (Soyuz-B) was an acceleration stage for launching into the lunar transfer orbit, and 11K (Soyuz-W) was a tanker that delivered fuel for the 9K stage should. The individual spacecraft were to be launched with launch vehicles based on the R-7 . In 1964 the plans were abandoned. It was decided to carry out the orbit around the moon with a spaceship upper stage team, which was to be launched by a single Proton rocket. For the manned lunar program, two spaceships were later built on the basis of the 7K: 7K-L1 for manned lunar orbit (tested as part of the Zond program) and 7K-LOK for entry into lunar orbit. These spaceships are not formally part of the Soyuz series and are therefore not covered here, for more information see Soviet lunar program .



Coupling system of the 7K-OK: the active part on the right and the passive part on the left

On the basis of the early draft 7K, the OKB-1 or ZKBEM developed the three-seater spaceship for orbital missions 7K-OK (OK stands for Орбитальный Корабль , in German 'orbital ship'; GRAU index 11F615, Russian 11Ф615 ), that of the moon flight project was named Soyuz . The tasks of the spaceship included testing orbital maneuvers and docking processes. The 7K-OK coupling system consisted of the Igla proximity system and two types of coupling adapters: an active and a passive one. Depending on the type of coupling adapter, a distinction was made between the active and passive spaceship models 7K-OK (A) and 7K-OK (P). The coupling adapters had no hatches and were only used to mechanically connect the two spaceships; the cosmonauts switched from one ship to the other by exiting space .

Schematic representation of a 7K-OK (A) spaceship
Soyuz 7K-OK (A) at the National Space Center in England

The first unmanned mission of a 7K-OK on November 28, 1966 under the designation Kosmos 133 (serial number 2) failed. The spaceship could not be stabilized in earth orbit. During the return to earth, it threatened to fall in China, whereupon a self-destruct mechanism destroyed the landing capsule. During the second launch attempt with the first spacecraft produced (serial number 1) on December 14, 1966, the launcher exploded on the launch pad . The spacecraft with the serial number 3 was launched on February 7, 1967 under the name Kosmos 140 . Here, too, there were significant malfunctions in the orientation of the spaceship in orbit and the cabin was decompressed during the return trip because the heat protection shield burned out due to a manufacturing defect. One crew would have died on this flight. The new type of spaceship still had serious shortcomings and was not yet qualified to fly after the failures.

For several months after the unsuccessful unmanned missions, only two airworthy spaceships (serial numbers 4 and 5) from the first production batch were available. Despite the failures, the engineers hoped to have identified all sources of error and pleaded for the next spaceship to be started with a man. The mission called Soyuz 1 began on April 23, 1967 with Vladimir Komarov . Initially, it was planned to launch Soyuz 2 a day later so that the two spaceships could have a rendezvous and two cosmonauts would transfer from Soyuz 2 to Soyuz 1. However, since a solar module did not open as planned after the start of Soyuz 1 and therefore not enough power was available for a successful docking maneuver, the second launch was canceled and Soyuz 1's objective was a "successful first flight of the Soyuz spacecraft in Earth orbit" decreased. The flight ended in a fatal accident, however, as the main parachute did not open and the spaceship fell to earth from a height of seven kilometers with practically no brakes. It turned out that binders had been removed from the application of the ablative heat protection to the inner wall of the parachute container, so that the energy of the auxiliary parachute was insufficient to pull the main parachute out of the container. Since the auxiliary parachute could not be released individually, the reserve parachute fell into its slipstream so that the aerodynamic forces were insufficient to unfold it. The spaceship hit hard at about 40 m / s, and the brake rockets intended for a soft landing ignited on the underside of the capsule. The leftovers burned out completely.

The Soyuz 1 crash and the death of Komarov were a hard blow to Soviet manned spaceflight. When investigating the accident, several development flaws were uncovered. Among other things, a design flaw in the parachutes was discovered. Due to delays in the design changes, the next unmanned launch could only be carried out in October 1967 with Kosmos 186 and Kosmos 188 , whose rendezvous in space was successful. The next manned launch took place with Soyuz 3 in October 1968. The planned transfer of cosmonauts from one spacecraft to the other was carried out in January 1969 with Soyuz 4 and Soyuz 5 . Further highlights were the joint mission from Soyuz 6 , Soyuz 7 and Soyuz 8 as well as the long-term flight from Soyuz 9 (18 days).


Coupling system of the 7K-T: the active part on the right and the passive part on the left
Schematic representation of a 7K-T spaceship of the original version for three spacemen (also known as 7K-OKS)
Schematic representation of a 7K-T spaceship of the revised version for two spacemen (without solar panels)

After NASA had won the race to the moon , the Soviet government ended the manned lunar program, and from 1969 the focus was on building a space station with permanent crew and carrying out long-term flights. For transport purposes, the 7K-OK spacecraft was modified by ZKBEM (formerly OKB-1) within a very short time and received a coupling mechanism equipped with an internal hatch. From now on, the cosmonauts could switch from one spacecraft to the other without having to put on space suits . The new spaceship was named 7K-T (T stands for Транспортный , in German for transport purposes ; GRAU index 11F615A8, Russian 11Ф615А8 ). 7K-T was still designed for three space travelers who, as with 7K-OK, did not wear protective pressure suits during the take-off and landing phases . Like its predecessor, the spaceship had its own solar panels for energy supply and was designed for an autonomous flight of three days. Coupled to a space station, 7K-T could stay in space for up to 60 days.

The first launch of 7K-T on April 23, 1971 as Soyuz 10 was manned. The spaceship docked with the Salyut 1 space station , but the cosmonauts could not enter the station because no airtight connection could be established between the two objects. The next mission - Soyuz 11 - ended in tragic calamity: while returning from a new long-term record, there was a sudden drop in pressure in the cabin, killing all three cosmonauts.

After this accident, the Soyuz spacecraft was redesigned to increase the safety of the cosmonauts. During critical flight phases (take-off, coupling maneuvers and landing), the space travelers now wore protective Sokol spacesuits . The new security measures increased the weight of the Soyuz, so that the spaceship could only carry two people. In order to keep the weight within limits, the solar cell surfaces were removed so that the ship was dependent on batteries with a maximum energy reserve for about two days. Despite the extensive modifications, the spaceship kept the designation 7K-T (some sources speak of the designation 7K-OKS for the Soyuz-10 and Soyuz-11 spaceships and 7K-T only for the following ships). After further unmanned test flights, manned space station operations were resumed. Between 1971 and 1981, 29 manned missions were launched on 7K-T spacecraft. These included some flights to the Almaz stations Salyut 3 and Salyut 5, which were used for military purposes . The ships used for this had the GRAU index 11F615A9 and differed from the civil 11F615A8 ships by a remote control system for Almaz stations and an improved parachute system. The first launch of such a modified spaceship took place on July 3, 1974 with Soyuz 14 .

As part of the Interkosmos program, the Soviet Union made it possible from 1978 onwards for space travelers from Eastern Bloc countries , and later also from Western countries (including France, India, Japan, Great Britain, Austria, the FRG and Afghanistan) to fly. On August 26, 1978, Sigmund Jähn was the first German to go into space with Soyuz 31 .


The androgynous coupling system APAS-75 of the 7K-TM spacecraft
Schematic representation of a 7K-TM spaceship for the ASTP project
Soyuz 19 spacecraft, taken by Apollo -Raumschiff
The Soyuz U launcher with Soyuz 19 on the launch pad in Baikonur

On May 24, 1972, the Soviet Union and the United States signed an agreement on space exploration in partnership, which included a joint space flight, the Apollo Soyuz Project (ASTP). In the same year, Soviet engineers began modifying the 7K-T spacecraft. The 7K-TM (TM stands for Транспортный Модифицированный , in German for transport purposes , modified; GRAU index 11F615A12, Russian 11Ф615А12 ) was created, which, like the predecessor 7K-T, was designed for two space travelers. The spaceship received a new androgynous coupling system called APAS (later also called APAS-75, where 75 stands for the year of development; known in English as APDS = Androgynous Peripheral Docking System ), in which each coupling port has both the active and the passive one Could take over part of a docking maneuver. In addition, solar cell booms were installed again and the life support system improved. These measures increased the spacecraft's autonomous stay in space to seven days. The modified Soyuz U rocket was used for the first time to launch the 7K-TM spacecraft .

Due to extensive modifications, the new spaceship first had to be tested unmanned. The first unmanned flight took place on April 3, 1974 under the code name Kosmos 638 , the second on August 12, 1974 as Kosmos 672 . After another, this time manned test flight ( Soyuz 16 ), the Soyuz 19 spacecraft took off on July 15, 1975. Two days later - for the first time in space travel history - the American Apollo spacecraft docked as an active partner on the Soyuz spacecraft. The spacemen of both nations were able to transfer from one spaceship to the other. However, that remained a single flight, only 20 years later a US spacecraft docked with the space shuttle Atlantis at the Russian space station Mir (mission STS-71 ).

In preparation for the ASTP mission, a total of six 7K-TM ships were built, with only four actually being used. The fifth ship started on September 15, 1976 as Soyuz 22 , with an MKF-6 camera manufactured in the GDR being installed in place of the docking module , with which the earth's surface was photographed during the flight. The sixth ship was never launched.

Soyuz T

In 1965 the project of a 7K-OK based military manned spacecraft with the designation 7K-WI ( Russian 7К-ВИ , ВИ stands for Военно-Исследовательский , in German for military and research purposes) arose in a branch of the ZKBEM (today RKZ Progress ) , also known as Zvezda (not to be confused with the ISS module of the same name). In 1967 the project was stopped in favor of new plans for a manned military space station Soyuz-WI . The plans saw the development of an orbital module and the feeder ship 7K-S ( Russian 7К-С , С stands for Специальный , in German for special purposes; GRAU index 11F732, Russian 11Ф732 ) on the basis of the 7K-OK, but with numerous modifications, in front. At the beginning of 1970, the Soyuz-WI space station project was also dropped. The development of the 7K-S, on the other hand, continued with the initial goal of constructing a military spaceship for autonomous flights. Due to the relatively long development time, many of the ship's systems could be fundamentally revised: 7K-S received a new control and drive system, an on-board computer, improved landing and communication systems, and other modifications. A new coupling system was also initially developed for 7K-S, but was used in 7K-T spaceships as early as 1971.

Schematic representation of a Soyuz-T spaceship (7K-ST)

In 1974, when the first 7K-S spaceships were already in production, the military lost interest in the project. As a result, it was decided to modify 7K-S into a feeder ship for the Salyut stations. This modification received the designation 7K-ST and the official name Soyuz T (T stands for Транспортный , in German for transport purposes), but retained the GRAU index of its predecessor 11F732. Soyuz T was able to accommodate three space travelers again, this time all of them were able to wear three protective Sokol spacesuits. Furthermore, solar panels were installed again, so that the duration of an autonomous flight could be increased to four days. The flight time in conjunction with a space station was now 180 days.

In parallel to the development of the 7K-ST modification, three unmanned test flights of the 7K-S that had already been built were undertaken: the first on August 6, 1974 as Kosmos 670 and the last on November 29, 1976 as Kosmos 869 . The first unmanned test flight of the 7K-ST spacecraft took place on April 4, 1978 as Kosmos 1001 ; after two further unmanned test flights, the Soyuz T-2 was the first manned deployment of a 7K-ST on June 5, 1980 . Since then, Soyuz T has been used to transport cosmonauts to the Salyut 6 and Salyut 7 space stations ; the last flight of this spacecraft model took place on March 13, 1986 with Soyuz T-15 .

Soyuz TM

Schematic representation of a Soyuz-TM spacecraft (7K-ST)
Soyuz TM-24 docked at the Mir

A modification of the Soyuz-T spacecraft with the designation Soyuz TM (TM stands for Транспортный Модифицированный , in German for transport purposes , modified) has been developed for the Mir space station, which is currently being planned . This modification retained both the internal designation 7K-ST and the GRAU index 11F732 of the predecessor. The most important innovations were: course approach system (replacement for Igla ), new propulsion system, lighter parachute systems and improved landing engines as well as a new rescue tower for the launcher. The flight time in conjunction with a space station remained as with Soyuz T at 180 days.

The first unmanned deployment of the new spacecraft took place on May 21, 1986 as Soyuz TM-1 . On February 6, 1987, Soyuz TM-2 was a manned flight to the Mir space station. Since then, Soyuz TM spaceships have regularly brought crews to Mir and later to the ISS, before being replaced by Soyuz TMA in 2002.

Up to and including Soyuz TM-22, the slightly more powerful Soyuz-U2 was used as a launch vehicle , which was operated with a special, synthetically produced type of kerosene (Sintin, see the article on RP-1 ). 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 discontinued in the mid-1990s and the later Soyuz-TM spaceships switched back to the Soyuz-U .

The androgynous coupling system APAS-89

A special mission of the Soyuz TM series was Soyuz TM-16 (launched on January 24, 1993). This flight was the first and so far the only Soyuz mission with a different coupling system since 1976. The androgynous APAS-89 coupling nozzle (89 stands for the development year) was used, which was a further development of the APAS-75 docking device of the Apollo-Soyuz project. The new docking system was developed to enable the Buran space shuttle to dock with the Mir space station. For this purpose, the Mir had two APAS-89 nozzles on the “crystal” module. At the same time, special Soyuz spaceships were to be equipped with this coupling system in order to serve as a rescue system for the Buran during manned test missions. Such a Soyuz would wait on earth in readiness for action and, in the event of an emergency, would start with a crew of men, dock at the Buran, pick up the two test pilots of the space shuttle and bring them safely to earth or to Mir. After the Buran program was stopped in 1992 for financial reasons, the only spacecraft already built was used to transport a permanent crew to Mir. The APAS-89 coupling system was later used in the Shuttle Mir program in some modules of the ISS and the docking system of the space shuttle with which the space shuttle berths at the ISS.

The technology of the Soyuz TM spaceship served the People's Republic of China as a template for building their own manned spaceship Shenzhou ("Divine Ship "), which, however, has slightly larger dimensions. On November 19, 1999, China carried out the first unmanned test of the spacecraft ( Shenzhou 1 ), which was followed by a manned launch on October 15, 2003 with Shenzhou 5 .

Soyuz TMA

Soyuz TMA improved landing engines
Inside the Soyuz TMA spaceship

After the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, for the first time since the Apollo-Soyuz project, there were rapprochements between American and now Russian manned spaceflight. Among other things, plans were made to bring US space travelers to the Mir space station in Russian Soyuz spacecraft. However, it quickly became clear that many of the American astronauts could not use the Soyuz spaceships due to their size or weight, as they have relatively strict requirements for these criteria. In 1996, NASA commissioned the Russian company RKK Energija - the successor to the former OKB-1 - to modify the Soyuz TM spacecraft with the aim of expanding the size and weight range of the Soyuz space travelers. The new modification received the name Soyuz TMA (A stands for Антропометрическая [модификация] , in German anthropometric modification) and the internal name 7K-TMA, but retained the GRAU index 11F732 of the predecessor.

In order to be able to transport larger space travelers, additional space had to be created in the landing capsule. This task proved to be relatively difficult, however, as the capsule was rather tight and the available space was occupied by various devices and subsystems. As a result, several of the ship's systems had to be modified or redesigned. Soyuz TMA received new, larger seats and a new control panel, and many devices and cables were relocated. This allowed the new spaceship to accommodate 150 to 190 cm tall and 50 to 95 kg heavy spacemen (for Soyuz TM, 164 to 182 cm tall and 56 to 85 kg heavy spacemen were permitted). Other modifications included the on-board computer and the landing system. The solid landing engines were designed in such a way that they can deliver different thrust depending on the mass of the landing capsule and thus ensure up to 30% lower braking accelerations when touching the ground. Despite the continued use of the GRAU number, the control panel changed significantly (photos: Soyuz TM and Soyuz TMA). The Soyuz TMA spacecraft are launched from slightly more powerful Soyuz FG launchers. In the future it is hoped to be able to switch to the even more powerful Soyuz-2 carrier as soon as it has completed enough successful unmanned flights and thus has proven its reliability.

The Soyuz TMA spacecraft took off on its first flight ( Soyuz TMA-1 ) on October 30, 2002 , during which a permanent crew was transported to the ISS. Soyuz TMA became the transport and rescue ship of the ISS. Initially, a Soyuz spacecraft always stayed docked at the ISS for six months in order to be able to evacuate the space station in an emergency. After about 180 days, the ship's guaranteed operating time has expired and it must be replaced with a new one. In addition, the ships start in a six-month cycle. Since Soyuz TMA-15 (2009), the crew of the ISS has been increased to six people. So since then two Soyuz spaceships have been docked for emergencies. In addition, four ships are to be launched every year for crew exchange.

Soyuz TMA-M

With the Soyuz TMA-01M flight, a new generation of Soyuz TMA spacecraft began to operate on October 7, 2010. These are also known under the name Soyuz TMA-Z ( English Soyuz TMA-Ts, Z / Ts stands for Цифровая [модификация] , in German digital modification). 36 older analog control systems were replaced by 19 modern digital ones, saving 70 kg of weight, reducing energy consumption and manufacturing costs of the spaceship, and making the interior more spacious. At the same time, the possible payload on the return flight is said to have been increased from 50 to 90 kg. The following changes have been made:

  • New on-board computer ZVM-101
  • New Russian Approach System Course-N
  • New, central radio system
  • New fuel cooling system

This means that the time spent in space can be extended up to a year (previously about seven months). The modified spaceship still has three seats, but can be operated by a single crew member (Soyuz TMA requires two appropriately trained crew members). Until the end of April 2012, the TMA spaceships of the old generation (with a “2” as the first digit of the serial number) and the new generation (with a “7” as the first digit of the serial number) were used in parallel.

Soyuz MS

Since the Soyuz MS-01 mission (2016), the advanced Soyuz-MS spaceship has been in use. It offers the following improvements:

  • More efficient solar cell panels
  • Reinforced micrometeorite protection
  • Modified arrangement of the attitude control and approach thrusters with higher error tolerance
  • New approach system (course NA)
  • Improved communication system
  • New, more powerful and lighter computer system
  • Uniform digital telemetry system with the possibility of a satellite connection (via Lutsch )
  • Use of GloNaSS and GPS signals for navigation purposes
  • Approach to space stations shortened to three to four orbits of the earth
  • Camera system instead of an optical sight
  • Integrated COSPAS / SARSAT transmitters for possible search and rescue operations when landing in impassable terrain

Some of the modifications have been tested since 2011 in previous Progress and Soyuz missions. In addition, the changes and the use of the Soyuz-2 launcher (from 2019) allow a higher payload.


Progress M1-10

The capacities of the manned Soyuz spaceships were insufficient to supply space stations with cargo and fuel, so the Progress, an unmanned cargo variant of the Soyuz 7K-T, was developed in the mid-1970s. The first launch took place on January 20, 1978 to the Salyut 6 space station. In the 1980s, the Progress M, a new variant of the cargo ship, was used, which was now based on the Soyuz-T spacecraft. It was started for the first time in 1989 for Mir. Later the Progress M was also used for the ISS. Another modification of the ship followed in 2000 with the Progress M1, this time the fuel loading capacity of the freighter was increased. Since 2008, the ISS has been supplied by the successor model Progress-MM, Progress-M1 can still be used if necessary.

Abandoned projects

Until 2009 (until Soyuz TMA-16 ), one-week flights to the ISS were offered to tourists for around $ 20 million . Starting in 2015, RKK Energija, in cooperation with Space Adventures , planned to offer flights around the moon with a modified Soyuz spaceship for around 150 to 180 million US dollars per person; the current plan is for these missions to start from 2021-2022. Additional acceleration levels are to be launched into Earth orbit with proton rockets, which could dock on the Soyuz and transport the spaceship on its journey around the moon. The crew is said to consist of a professional Russian cosmonaut and two tourists; According to RKK Energija, the flight of a single tourist would not be profitable.

As the successor to the Soyuz spaceship, the Kliper was announced in early 2004 , the maiden flight should take place around 2012, full operational readiness would have been expected in 2015. In 2006, RKK Energija announced that they wanted to develop Kliper in three steps, with the first step being the modernization of the Soyuz spaceship by 2010. Furthermore, it should be possible for the improved Soyuz to orbit the moon. After Roskosmos took over RKK Energija, the project was discontinued in July 2007.

In addition, within the framework of the ACTS program - initiated by the European Space Agency (ESA) and Roskosmos - there were joint studies on the development of a manned spacecraft of the next generation. The technology of the Soyuz spaceship should be used intensively. Since it was not possible to reach an agreement on the parts to be brought in by both partners, the project was discontinued.

In his place, Energija has been developing Federazija (also PTK-NP) as a successor system on behalf of Roskosmos since 2009 . This should be Template: future / in 4 yearsready for use around 2024 .


Spaceships of the Soyuz series consist of three modules : the service module PAO ( ПАО = Abbreviation of. Приборно-агрегатный отсек , the landing module SA) ( СА = Abbreviation of. Спускаемый аппарат and the orbital module BO) ( БО = Abbreviation of. Бытовой отсек ) . After the braking maneuver and before entering the earth's atmosphere, the modules separate from each other and burn up except for the landing module, which lands with the crew in the Kazakh steppe . The modules are not reusable, the technology from the returned landing modules is only partially used for new flights.

Service module (PAO)

Service module from Soyuz TMA
SKD engine from Soyuz 19 (including reserve engine )

The service module ( Instrumentation / Propulsion Module ) contains service systems and the drive system (KTDU) including the fuel. The length of the module is 2.26 m, the main diameter 2.15 m and the maximum diameter 2.72 m.

The drive system KTDU ( КТДУ = abbr. Of корректирующе-тормозная двигательная установка to German drive system for control and braking purposes) consists of a SKD thruster ( СКД = abbr. Of сближающе-корректирующий двигатель to German engine for approaching and correction purposes) with a thrust of 2942 N and 28 DPO engines ( ДПО = abbreviation from двигатели причаливания и ориентации , in German engines for berthing and attitude control). The DPO engines are arranged in two groups with 14 engines each, with some of the engines (12 pieces) having a thrust of 26.5 N and the rest having a thrust of 130 N. The SKD engine is used for orbital maneuvers and for braking the spaceship to exit orbit. The propulsion system uses the fuel combination dinitrogen tetroxide and UDMH . Spaceships 7K-OK and 7K-T had the KTDU-35 with a thrust of 4 kN and a specific impulse (I sp ) of 282 s. This practically consisted of two independent KTDUs: a main and a reserve KTDU. The new KTDU-80 was developed for Soyuz T, this also delivered 4 kN thrust, but could be operated in different modes: with large and small thrust and I sp from 286 to 326 s. The reserve engine was removed, the SKD and DPO engines were combined in a system with common pressurized gas tanks.

Soyuz 19 DPO engines

The service module also contains the tanks with the fuel. The first Soyuz ships could carry 500 kg of fuel, newer models already 880 kg. There are also high pressure tanks (approx. 300 bar) with helium in order to put the fuel tanks under pressure.

The energy supply system is also located in the service module and consists of solar panels and accumulators. Until the accident of Soyuz 11, the spacecraft had solar panels with a span of 9.80 m and an area of ​​14 m², the average energy yield was 500 W. After the accident, the solar panels were removed to save weight. The energy supply was provided by 18 kWh batteries alone, which enabled an autonomous flight of two days. For the Apollo Soyuz program (spaceship 7K-TM), solar panels with an area of ​​8.33 m² and 8 kWh accumulators were used. Modern Soyuz spaceships have solar panels with a span of 10.6 m and an area of ​​10 m², these have an output of around 1 kW.

Landing module (SA)

Landing module from Soyuz TMA

The landing module (or the landing capsule, English name Descent Module ) contains seats for the space travelers as well as life support, control and parachute systems. The length of the module is 2.24 m, the diameter 2.17 m and the habitable volume 3.5 m³. The surface of the landing module is covered with an ablative (i.e. melting) heat shield , which is thrown off after opening the main parachute. The solid-fuel brake engines are located under the heat shield and are ignited immediately (in the meter range) before touchdown. On the surface of the capsule, 24 attitude control thrusters operated with hydrogen peroxide are attached, which control the spatial position of the capsule during atmospheric flight. This makes it possible to use the aerodynamic qualities of the capsule and so reduce the stress on the space travelers. The capsule has a braking parachute (16 m 2 ), which is opened at a height of about 9 kilometers by auxiliary parachutes ( 0.62 & 4.5 m 2 ), and a large main parachute (518 m 2 ), which is 7.5 kilometers Height is deployed. The braking parachute is ejected at a falling speed of around 240 m / s or 864 km / h, the main parachute at 90 m / s (324 km / h) and brakes the capsule down to 6 m / s (21.6 km / h). Immediately before landing (70 cm above the ground) the speed of the capsule is reduced to 2 to 4 m / s with six brake rockets. In addition to the space travelers, 100 kg of cargo can be returned to earth in the landing capsule (Soyuz TMA).

Orbital module (BO)

Orbital module from Soyuz TMA

The orbital module (English name orbital modules ) is about 3 m long, has a diameter of 2.26 m and a habitable volume m³ of the fifth The module is equipped with a docking nozzle and a proximity system (formerly "Igla", since Soyuz TM "Kurs"). Four DPO engines are installed in the front part of the module. Freight goods and other payloads can be accommodated in the pressurized space of the orbital module, and there are also some life support systems, for example a toilet. The spacemen enter the spaceship through a hatch on the side of the module before take-off.

Orbital module from Soyuz TMA, interior view ( mock-up )

Rescue System (SAS)

Every Soyuz spacecraft rocket combination has a rescue rocket ( Russian система аварийного спасения , САС; German  SAS ), which enables rescue during the launch phase by accelerating the spacecraft with the cosmonauts out of the danger zone. The rescue rocket has been used successfully twice with the Soyuz T-10-1 and Soyuz MS-10 in the Soyuz system .

Technical specifications

Soyuz TMA 9 spacecraft on its landing in Kazakhstan

The exact numbers can differ for individual spaceships within a model series.

Version: Soyuz-A 7K-OK 7K-T 7K-TM Soyuz T Soyuz TM Soyuz TMA Soyuz MS
Overall system
Total mass (kg) 5,880 6,560 6,800 6,680 6,850 7,250 7,220 until 7,220
Length (m) 7.40 7.95 7.48 7.48 7.48 7.48 7.48 6.98
Max. Diameter (m) 2.50 2.72 2.72 2.72 2.72 2.72 2.72 2.72
Span (m) ? 9.80 9.80 / - 8.37 10.6 10.6 10.7 10.7
Max. Delta-V (m / s) ? 390 210 ? 320 390 390
Thrust (kN) ? 4.09 4.09 ? 3.92 3.92 3.92
Specific impulse (s) ? 282 282 ? 305 305 305
Habitable volume (m³) 6.20 9.00 8.50 9.00 9.00 8.50 8.50
Orbital module (BO)
Total mass (kg) 1,000 1,100 1,350 1,224 1,100 1,450 1,370
Length (m) 3.00 3.45 2.98 3.10 2.98 2.98 2.98
Diameter (m) 2.20 2.25 2.26 2.26 2.26 2.26 2.26
Habitable volume (m³) 2.20 5.00 5.00 5.00 5.00 5.00 5.00
Landing module (SA)
Total mass (kg) 2,480 2,810 2,850 2,802 3,000 2,850 2,950
Length (m) 2.30 2.24 2.24 2.24 2.24 2.24 2.24
Diameter (m) 2.17 2.17 2.17 2.17 2.17 2.17 2.17
Habitable volume (m³) 4.00 4.00 3.50 4.00 4.00 3.50 3.50
Service module (PAO)
Total mass (kg) 2,400 2,650 2,700 2,654 2,750 2,950 2,900
Fuel mass (kg) 830 500 500 500 700 880 880
Length (m) 2.10 2.26 2.26 2.26 2.26 2.26 2.26
Base diameter (m) 2.30 2.15 2.15 2.15 2.15 2.15 2.15
Max. Diameter (m) 2.50 2.72 2.72 2.72 2.72 2.72 2.72

See also

Web links

Commons : Soyuz Spaceship  - Collection of Pictures, Videos and Audio Files
Commons : Soyuz program  - album with pictures, videos and audio files
Commons : Logos of the Soyuz Missions  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Soyuz 7K-T / A9 in the Encyclopedia Astronautica (English)
  2. Novosti Kosmonawtiki magazine No. 6/2002: The legendary spaceship “Soyuz”, Part 3 ( Memento from November 12, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) (Russian)
  3. Illustration of the Soyuz-TM control panel
  4. Illustration of the Soyuz TMA control panel
  5. FliegerRevue December 2010, pp. 40–42, premiere flight: Soyuz with digital technology
  6. News August 11, 2011. SP Korolev RSC Energia, Korolev, Moscow region. RSC Energia, August 11, 2011, accessed May 21, 2014 .
  7. Anatoly Zak: Russia's Workhorse Soyuz Space Taxi Gets a Makeover. Poular Mechanics, July 5, 2016, accessed July 6, 2016 .
  8. Competitor for SpaceX: Russia wants to fly tourists around the moon: RKK Energija wants to offer tourist flights to the moon from 2020 , August 2016
  9. "Novosti Kosmonawtiki": News from August 10, 2006 ( Memento from August 22, 2006 in the Internet Archive ) (Russian)
  10. RKK Energija: Concept of russian manned space navigation development , May 2006
  11. Russia's next-generation spacecraft faces new delays in 2014. Russian Space Web, November 25, 2014, accessed on May 31, 2015 .
  12. Overview of different Soyuz types in the Encyclopedia Astronautica (English)
  13. International Space Station: SP Korolev RSC Energia - International Space Station , access date: September 26, 2019
This article was added to the list of excellent articles on August 10, 2006 in this version .