The Soyuz rocket is the workhorse for Russian human space missions and has been used for that purpose longer than any other vehicle. In the 1960s it began carrying cosmonauts into space and then to the Soviet Salyut and Mir stations. Together with the US Space Shuttle, it ensures the transport of crews to and from the International Space Station.
To ensure that Soyuz will be able to carry out missions of this type from Europe’s Spaceport, the launch infrastructure has been designed so that it can be smoothly adapted for human spaceflight, should this be decided. The first Soyuz flight was unmanned and started on November 28, 1966.
ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti is all set for her five-month mission on the International Space Station. She will leave Earth on Sunday from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan with NASA astronaut Terry Virts and Roscosmos cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov.
Watch the international crew of astronauts board their Soyuz TMA-15M spacecraft strapped to 274 tonnes of rocket propellants, accelerate to 28 800 km/h and dock with the Space Station orbiting Earth in just six hours.
Source: European Space Agency ESA