Press Release

Success of the Soyuz 2-1a maiden flight

By SpaceRef Editor
November 8, 2004
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Success of the Soyuz 2-1a maiden flight

The inaugural flight of a Soyuz 2-1a launch vehicle was performed Monday, November 8, 2004 from the Plessetsk Cosmodrome in Russia at 9:30 p.m. Moscow time (7:30 p.m., in Paris).

Starsem, Arianespace and their Russian partners report that the mission with the test payload was accomplished in compliance with the nominal program.

This was the eighth Soyuz family mission in 2004, marking a major step in the launch vehicle evolution program. This modernized version of Soyuz implements a digital control system providing additional mission flexibility and will enable control of the launch vehicle with the larger fairing.

The next steps of the Soyuz evolution program are the following:

– Introduction of the ST fairing upgrade providing customers with additional payload volume.

– Introduction of the Soyuz 2-1b, implementing a more powerful third stage engine significantly increasing the overall launch vehicle performance and providing additional payload mass capability.

Scheduled for an inaugural flight in mid 2006, the evolved Soyuz 2-1b will represent the latest step in a cooperative European/Russian evolution program. It will perfectly meet the market’s needs for a versatile and flexible medium-class launch vehicle capable of performing a wide range of missions.

Moreover, the decision of the European Space Agency to introduce the Soyuz launch capability at the Guiana Space Center (CSG) is a major step in widening the range of accessible missions. The inaugural flight from CSG is scheduled for 2007 following the construction of a new launch pad coordinated between the European and Russian Space Agencies.

With the introduction of the Soyuz at CSG, this famed Russian launch vehicle becomes an integral part of the European launcher fleet, together with the heavy-lift Ariane 5 and the lightweight Vega. To be offered exclusively by Arianespace to the commercial market, the Soyuz at CSG is Europe’s reference medium-class launch vehicle for governmental and commercial missions.

SpaceRef staff editor.