Russia’s Soyuz Spacecraft: 46 Years and Still Soaring High


In just a couple of days a Soyuz rocket will lift off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, carrying NASA astronaut Tom Marshburn, Canadian Space Agency astronaut Chris Hadfield, and Russian Federal Space Agency cosmonaut Roman Romanenko within the TMA-07M capsule on a two-day trip to the ISS. While many improvements have been made to the Soyuz rockets and spacecraft since the first launch in 1966, the bottom line is that the Soyuz have become the world’s most used launch vehicles due to their consistent performance and relatively low cost.

Here, CSA astronaut Chris Hadfield talks about the Soyuz, briefly describing the strengths of the Russian technology that will once again take him and fellow Expedition 34/35 crew members to the ISS, where in March of next year he will become the first Canadian to take command of the Station.

“This is a safe and reliable and proven way to leave the Earth, and each successive Soyuz is different; each one has small changes. The role of the astronaut is to learn those small changes… and learn to apply them.”

– Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield

The T version of the Soyuz craft began flying manned missions in 1980 and in 1986 the TM versions were transporting crews to Mir. The TMA upgrade addressed previous astronaut/cosmonaut height restrictions and permits the Soyuz to be used as a lifeboat for ISS crews, if necessary.

Find out more about the long history of the Soyuz spacecraft here, and read more about today’s Soyuz rollout here.

Video: CSA. Inset image: NASA/Carla Cioffi

Jason Major

A graphic designer in Rhode Island, Jason writes about space exploration on his blog Lights In The Dark, Discovery News, and, of course, here on Universe Today. Ad astra!

Recent Posts

NASA Releases Another Supercut of the Artemis I Mission, Showing the Launch and Flight Past the Moon

NASA has released a second supercut video of the Artemis I mission that captures the…

16 hours ago

New Images of Titan From JWST and Keck Telescopes Reveal a Rare Observation

Planetary scientists have greatly anticipated using the James Webb Space Telescope’s infrared vision to study…

18 hours ago

A Black Hole Consumed a Star and Released the Light of a Trillion Suns

When a flash of light appears somewhere in the sky, astronomers notice. When it appears…

2 days ago

Sometimes Astronomy isn’t About What you see, but What you don’t see

Constraints are critical in any scientific enterprise. If a hypothesis predicts that there should be…

2 days ago

SpaceX’s Super Heavy Fires 11 of its Engines in a Long-Duration Test

SpaceX conducted another static fire test with its BN7 prototype, this time firing up eleven…

2 days ago

“Good Night Oppy” Beautifully Illustrates the Unbreakable Bond Between Humans and our Robotic Explorers

In January 2004, NASA rovers Spirit and Opportunity (aka “Oppy”) landed in two completely different…

2 days ago