The Soyuz spacecraft
is one of the versatile
spacecraft created and has gone through several incarnation
s. It began as a spacecraft for taking cosmonaut
s to the moon
, into a spacecraft for investigating manned spaceflight in Earth to orbit, to finally a spacecraft for ferrying cosmonauts to space station
The word 'Soyuz' (Союз in cyrillic) means Union in Russian (as in Soyuz Sovietskikh Sotsialisticheskikh Respublik or Союз Советских Социалистических Республик).
The first manned incarnation of the Soyuz was the 7K-OK. Like all Soyuz to follow it consisted of three modules
The advantage of this three
module approach as opposed to the two modules used by the Americans was that whereas in the Command Module
of the Apollo
spaceceft there six cubic metres of living space for a mass
of 5000 kg, the Soyuz provided the same crew with 9 cubic meters of living space, an airlock
, and the service module
for the mass of the Apollo capsule alone. This was because the reentry module contained only the equipment necessary
s, some battery
power and a heat shield
. Every gram saved in this way saves two or more grams in overall spacecraft mass - for it does not need to be protected by heat shields, supported by parachutes, or braked on landing.
One of the design requirements for the reentry module was for it to have the highest possible volumetric efficiency (internal volume divided by hull area). The best shape for this is a sphere, but this has no ability to bank a little, to generate lift and 'fly' to some extent. That is why it was decided to go with the 'headlight' shape that the Soyuz uses - a hemispherical forward area joined by a barely angled cone (7 degrees) to a classic spherical section heat shield.
The 7K-OK spacecraft was designed with the following requirements in mind
The reentry module could accommodate a crew of up to three in a shirt sleeve environment. It was 2.16 m long and had a diameter of 2.2 m.
The spacecraft was equipped with 14 translation/attitude engines; 16 orientation engines; 6 reentry orientation engines; 4 small correction engines; and 2 rendezvous and correction engines.
It was launched on the Soyuz 11A511 rocket, which had a gross lift-off mass of 308 tonnes, was 45.6 m long, 10.3 m maximum span, and had a total burn time of 538.5 seconds.
The first unmanned test flight took place on November 28, 1966 and the last flight (Soyuz 9) occurred on June 1, 1970.
Manned Flights of the 7K-OK were as follows (with launch crews):
- Soyuz 1 (April 23, 1967) with Vladimir Komarov
- Soyuz 3 (October 26, 1968) with Georgi Beregovoi
- Soyuz 4 (January 14, 1969) with Vladimir Shatalov
- Soyuz 5 (January 15, 1969) with Yevgeni Khrunov, Alexsei Yeliseyev and Boris Volynov
- Soyuz 6 (October 11, 1969) with Georgi Shonin and Valeri Kubasov
- Soyuz 7 (October 12, 1969) with Anatoli Filipchenko, Vladislav Volkov and Viktor Gorbatko
- Soyuz 8 (October 13, 1969) with Vladimir Shatalov and Alexsei Yeliseyev
- Soyuz 9 (June 1, 1970) with Andrian Nikolayev and Vitali Sevastyanov
The basic design was then changed and lead to the 7K-OKS. This was designed for space station missions and only flew twice. It featured a lightweight docking system
and a crew transfer tunnel
. On the 7K-OK the crew had to perform an EVA
if they wanted to transfer from one spacecraft to another. Now they could just open a hatch
like on the Apollo spacecraft.
Manned Flights of the 7K-OKS were as follows (with launch crews):
The design was dropped after the fatal flight of Soyuz 11
. The crew were killed when the capsule depressurise
d killing the cosmonauts who were not wearing spacesuits
due to the space restrictions
The spaceraft was completely redesigned resulting in the substantially safer 7K-T space station ferry. To make room for spacesuits one crew position was sacrificed. To avoid to problems Soyuz 1 had with its solar panels, batteries were now used. This limited the autonomous lifetime of the Soyuz but allowed a guaranteed power supply. It was to become the workhorse of the Soviet manned space program until 1981.
The first test flight occurred on 26 June, 1972 with the launch of Cosmos 496. After another test flight the first manned flight was Soyuz 12 launched on 27 September 1973.
Manned Flights of the 7K-T were as follows (with launch crews):
- Soyuz 12 (September 27, 1973) with Oleg Makarov and Vasili Lazarev
- Soyuz 17 (January 11, 1975) with Georgi Grechko and Aleksei Gubarev
- Soyuz 18-1 (April 5, 1975) with Vasili Lazarev and Oleg Makarov
- Soyuz 18 (May 24, 1975) with Pyotr Klimuk and Vitali Sevastyanov
- Soyuz 25 (October 9, 1977) with Vladimir Kovalyonok and Valeri Ryumin
- Soyuz 26 (December 10, 1977) with Yuri Romanenko and Georgi Grechko
- Soyuz 27 (January 10, 1978) with Oleg Makarov and Vladimir Dzhanibekov
- Soyuz 28 (March 2, 1978) with Aleksei Gubarev and Vladimir Remek
- Soyuz 29 (June 15, 1978) with Aleksandr Ivanchenkov and Vladimir Kovalyonok
- Soyuz 31 (August 26, 1978) with Valeri Bykovsky and Sigmund Jaehn
- Soyuz 32 (February 25, 1979) with Valeri Ryumin and Vladimir Lyakhov
- Soyuz 33 (April 10, 1979) with Georgi Ivanov and Nikolai Rukavishnikov
- Soyuz 35 (April 9, 1980) with Valeri Ryumin and Leonid Popov
- Soyuz 36 (May 26, 1980) with Farkas Bertalan and Valeri Kubasov
- Soyuz 37 (July 23, 1980) with Pham Tuan and Viktor Gorbatko
- Soyuz 38 (September 18, 1980) with Yuri Romanenk and Arnaldo Tamayo-Mendez
- Soyuz 39 (March 22, 1981) with Vladimir Dzhanibekov and Gurragcha Jugderdemidiin
- Soyuz 40 (May 14, 1981) with Leonid Popov and Dumitru Prunariu
The next mission was the first of the unique Soyuz designs. The 7K-T/AF modification featured a large Orion 2 astrophysical camera
. The crew imaged in sky
and made spectrozonal photography
of specific area
s of the earth
The 7K-T crossed over with the next incarnation
of the Soyuz, Soyuz T
. Late its life, the 7K-T was used to launch the Intercosmos crews to the Salyut space stations, while the man Salyut crew who lived in space for 6 months or so used the Soyuz T.
There was also an military version of the 7K-T. Called the 7K-T/A9. It was used to launch crews to the military Almaz Space Stations. It included systems for remote control of the Almaz station and a revised parachute system. Other changes were made but are unknown due to there classified nature. It was launched 6 times, with the last flight used for the Intercosmos program.
Manned Flights of the 7K-T/A9 were as follows (with launch crews):
While the Salyut program was going on, the Russian
s and American
s signed an agreement for the Apollo Soyuz Test Project
(ASTP). Part of this was a redesign
of the Soyuz to make it safe enough for the US. The Soyuz ASTP featured new solar panels for increased mission length, an androgynous universal docking mechanism
instead of the standard male mechanism
and modifications to the environmental control system to lower the cabin pressure
to 0.68 atmosphere
s prior to docking with Apollo.
The craft launched four times, twice manned, the last being Soyuz 19, the actual ASTP mission. After the end of the ASTP, a surplus spacecraft was used for the Soyuz 22 mission. This featured an East German MF6 multispectral camera. This was used for photographing the earth to identify resources.
Manned Flights of the ASTP were as follows (with launch crews):
Another complete redesigned occurred during the 1970s. It had started when it was decided to design a military space station
using a Soyuz spacecraft with a crew of two. This project was cancelled but the designing of the new Soyuz model continued. It was redesigned for a crew of three in spacesuits and a new design was issued in 1975. The first test flight occurred on 4 April, 1978
with the launch of Cosmos 1001
The Soyuz T designed featured solar panels allowing longer missions, a revised Igla rendezvous system and new translation/attitude thuster system on the Service module. It was launched 15 times manned with the last being one of the most epic missions ever launched. Soyuz T-15 rendezvoused and docked with first the newly launched Mir Space Station. It then went to the lifeless Salyut 7 and retrieved experiments and equipment. It then returned to Mir. This would have been impossible with the older Soyuz designs which had very limited manouevering.
Manned Flights of the T were as follows (with launch crews):
- Soyuz T-2 (June 5, 1980) with Vladimir Aksyonov and Yuri Malyshev
- Soyuz T-3 (November 27, 1980) with Leonid Kizim, Oleg Makarov and Gennadi Strekalov
- Soyuz T-4 (March 12, 1981) with Viktor Savinykh and Vladimir Kovalyonok
- Soyuz T-5 (May 13, 1982) with Anatoli Berezovoi and Valentin Lebedev
- Soyuz T-6 (June 24, 1982) with Jean-Loup Chretien, Vladimir Dzhanibekov and Aleksandr Ivanchenkov
- Soyuz T-7 (August 19, 1982) with Leonid Popov, Svetlana Savitskaya and Aleksandr Serebrov
- Soyuz T-8 (April 20, 1983) with Aleksandr Serebrov, Gennadi Strekalov and Vladimir Titov
- Soyuz T-9 (June 27, 1983) with Aleksandr Aleksandrov and Vladimir Lyakhov
- Soyuz T-10-1 (September 26, 1983) with Gennadi Strekalov and Vladimir Titov
- Soyuz T-10 (February 8, 1984) with Oleg Atkov, Leonid Kizim and Vladimir Solovyov
- Soyuz T-11 (April 3, 1984) with Yuri Malyshev, Rakesh Sharma and Gennadi Strekalov
- Soyuz T-12 (July 17, 1984) with Vladimir Dzhanibekov, Svetlana Savitskaya and Igor Volk
- Soyuz T-13 (June 6, 1985) with Vladimir Dzhanibekov and Viktor Savinykh
- Soyuz T-14 (September 17, 1985) with Georgi Grechko, Vladimir Vasyutin and Aleksandr Volkov
- Soyuz T-15 (March 13, 1986) with Leonid Kizim and Vladimir Solovyov
The last major redesign of the Soyuz resulted in the Soyuz TM
. It was a modernised
version of the Soyuz T, for use with the Mir Space Station. It has new docking
, radio communication
and integrated parachute
systems. The new Kurs rendezvous and docking system
permitted the Soyuz TM to maneuver independently
of the station, without the station making "mirror image
" maneuvers to match unwanted translations introduced by earlier models' aft-mounted attitude control.
It flew a total of 34 times carrying cosmonauts and for the first time astronauts. After the collapse of the Soviet Union the flight rate was lowered and paying customers were able to buy seats for a 10 day mission in space.
Manned Flights of the TM were as follows (with launch crews):
- Soyuz TM-2 (February 5, 1987) with Yuri Romanenko and Aleksander Laveykin
- Soyuz TM-3 (July 22, 1987) with Aleksandr Aleksandrov, Mohammed Faris and Aleksandr Viktorenko
- Soyuz TM-4 (December 21, 1987) with Musa Manarov, Anatoly Levchenko and Vladimir Titov
- Soyuz TM-5 (June 7, 1988) with Aleksandr Panayotov Aleksandrov, Viktor Savinykh and Anatoli Solovyov
- Soyuz TM-6 (August 29, 1988) with Vladimir Lyakhov, Abdul Mohmand and Valeri Polyakov
- Soyuz TM-7 (November 26, 1988) with Alexander Volkov, Sergei Krikalev and Jean-Loup Chretien
- Soyuz TM-8 (September 5, 1989) with Aleksandr Serebrov and Aleksandr Viktorenko
- Soyuz TM-9 (February 11, 1990) with Aleksandr Balandin and Anatoliy Solovyov
- Soyuz TM-10 (August 1, 1990) with Gennadi Manakov and Gennadi Strekalov
- Soyuz TM-11 (December 2, 1990) with Viktor Afanasyev, Tohiro Akiyama and Musa Manarov
- Soyuz TM-12 (May 18, 1991) with Anatoli Artsebarski, Sergei Krikalev and Helen Sharman
- Soyuz TM-13 (October 2, 1991) with Toktar Aubakirov, Franz Viehboeck and Aleksandr Volkov
- Soyuz TM-14 (March 17, 1992) with Aleksandr Viktorenko, Aleksandr Kaleri and Klaus-Dietrich Flade
- Soyuz TM-15 (July 27, 1992) with Sergei Avdeyev, Anatoli Solovyov and Michel Tognini
- Soyuz TM-16 (January 24, 1993) with Gennadi Manakov and Aleksandr Polishchuk
- Soyuz TM-17 (July 1, 1993) with Vasili Tsibliyev, Alexander Serebrov and Jean-Pierre Haignere
- Soyuz TM-18 (January 8, 1994) with Viktor Afanasyev, Valeri Polyakov and Yuri Usachyov
- Soyuz TM-19 (July 1, 1994) with Yuri Malenchenko and Talgat Musabayev
- Soyuz TM-20 (October 3, 1994) with Yelena Kondakova, Ulf Merbold and Aleksandr Viktorenko
- Soyuz TM-21 (March 14, 1995) with Vladimir Dezhurov, Gennadi Strekalov and Norman Thagard
- Soyuz TM-22 (September 3, 1995) with Yuri Gidzenko, Sergei Avdeyev and Thomas Reiter
- Soyuz TM-23 (February 21, 1996) with Yuri Onufrienko and Yuri Usachyov
- Soyuz TM-24 (August 17, 1996) with Valeri Korzun, Aleksandr Kaleri and Claudie Andre-Deshays
- Soyuz TM-25 (February 10, 1997) with Vasili Tsibliyev, Aleksandr Lazutkin and Reinhold Ewald
- Soyuz TM-26 (August 5, 1997) with Anatoli Solovyov and Pavel Vinogradov
- Soyuz TM-27 (January 29, 1998) with Talgat Musabayev, Nikolai Budarin and Leopold Eyharts
- Soyuz TM-28 (August 13, 1998) with Gennadi Padalka, Sergei Avdeyev and Yuri Baturin
- Soyuz TM-29 (February 20, 1999) with Viktor Afanasyev, Jean-Pierre Haignere and Ivan Bella
- Soyuz TM-30 (April 4, 2000) with Aleksandr Kaleri and Sergei Zalyotin
- Soyuz TM-31 (October 31, 2000) with Yuri Gidzenko, Sergei Krikalev and William Shepherd
- Soyuz TM-32 (April 28, 2001) with Talgat Musabayev, Yuri Baturin and Dennis Tito
- Soyuz TM-33 (October 21, 2001) with Viktor Afanasyev, Konstantin Kozeyev and Claudie Andre-Deshays
- Soyuz TM-34 (April 25, 2002) with Yuri Gidzenko, Roberto Vittori and Mark Shuttleworth
carried the first crew to the International Space Station
. The Soyuz serves as the lifeboat
to be used by the crew in case of emergency.
A slightly modified Soyuz TMA is now also being used. This features several changes to accomodate NASA requirements, including more latitude in the height and weight of the crew and improved parachute systems.
After the disintergration of Columbia, the Soyuz TMA became the only way for the manned crews to reach the ISS. It was used to launch the two man Expedition 7 crew to the ISS as caretakers. The Expedition 8 launched October 18, 2003 by the Soyuz TMA as well.
Manned Flights of the TMA were as follows (with launch crews):
This writeup has only looked at the manned versions
of the Soyuz spacecraft that have flew. There are dozens
of other variation
s that were either only dreamed or have flown unmanned as test flights or as modifications on the basic Soyuz design.