A Look at the Soyuz

THe Soyuz TMA-7 (Credits: NASA).

With the next Soyuz launch to ISS now likely to launch sometime in July, what has been called the most reliable spacecraft in history is undergoing some scrutiny following the January 22 failure of a standard prelaunch test.

 International Space Station Program Manager Michael Suffredini, answering questions on February 2 regarding the delay told reporters that “This particular event is very unfortunate, but you know this is a complicated business and things happen.” Suffredini continued “To me this is not indicative of some overarching problem at the Energia corporation. I have every confidence that they’ll figure out the cause of this and rectify it for the future.” Energia is the largest company comprising Russia’s space industry with responsibility for all manned flights including the Soyuz, which it developed. 38% of Energia is owned by the Russian government.

When is launches, the next Soyuz capsule will carry NASA astronaut Joe Acaba and Russian cosmonauts Gennady Padalka and Sergei Revin to the space station. In the meantime, Commander Dan Burbank and Flight Engineers Anton Shkaplerov and Anatoly Ivanishin will be extending their stay on ISS through April 30.

Below is an overview of the Soyuz launcher’s history.



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