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Soyuz rocket missions in 2006
2006 March 30: The Soyuz-FG rocket, carrying the Soyuz TMA-8 spacecraft with the 13th long-duration crew of the International Space Station, blasted off from Site 1 in Baikonur Cosmodrome at 06:30 Moscow Summer Time and successfully reached orbit nine minutes later.
After a two-day flight, the Progress M-56 successfully docked to the aft port of the Zvezda service module of the ISS on April 26, 2006, at 21:41:31 Moscow Time.
Along with regular supply of consumables, Progress M-56 delivered golf gear, which Pavel Vinogradov from the Expedition 13 would use during an upcoming spacewalk for a commercial advertising campaign.
The Progress M-56 launch was previously scheduled for April 16, 2006.
2006 May 3: A new imaging satellite renewed Russia's dwindling reconnaissance network. The Soyuz-U rocket blasted off from Pad 2 at Site-16 of the nation's northern cosmodrome in Plesetsk at 21:38 Moscow Time on May 3, 2006. It successfully reached the orbit at 21:47 Moscow Time, releasing a classified payload, officially identified as Cosmos-2420.
A well-informed Kommersant newspaper described the satellite as a modified version of the Yantar-4K2 (11F695) satellite designated Kobalt-M. According to the paper, the launch of the satellite was previously scheduled for the middle of May 2006, however its pre-launch processing was accelerated in light of the decommissioning of the last US-PU electronic intelligence spacecraft -- reportedly the last Russian reconnaissance asset in the Earth orbit. A 6,6-ton Kobalt-M is developed by TsSKB Progress of Samara and mass produced by OAO Arsenal of St Petersburg, the newspaper said. The satellite is designed for 120 days of orbital operations. Kommersant predicted that upon the completion of its mission, Kobalt-M would be replaced by the Don spysat, also known as Orlets-1.
The NORAD radar found Cosmos-2420 in the 360 by 180-kilometer orbit with the inclination 67.15 degrees toward the Equator, which is consistent with the orbital parameters of the Kobalt and Yantar-4KS-type satellites. It received international designation 2006-017A.
2006 June 15: The Soyuz-U rocket blasted off from Baikonur Cosmodrome's Pad 5 at Site 1, on June 15, 2006, at 12:00:00.193 Moscow Time, carrying the Resurs-DK-1 No. 1 spacecraft. The payload successfully reached orbit eight minutes later, according to the official Russian sources.
2006 July 21: A four-stage Molniya rocket lifted off from Plesetsk, carrying a military satellite, officially identified as Kosmos-2422. According to the official Russian sources, the payload successfully separated from the fourth stage of the launch vehicle at 09:16 Moscow Time.
The mission most likely carried the Oko early-warning satellite, normally injected into highly elliptical orbit, where it works in conjunction with geostationary early warning satellites launched by the Proton rockets from Baikonur Cosmodrome.
2006 Oct. 23: The Progress M-58 (No. 358) spacecraft blasted off from Baikonur Cosmodrome's Site 1, at 17:40:36 Moscow Time (13:40:36 GMT). The Soyuz-U (No. 102) rocket followed a standard trajectory to reach the orbit with the inclination 56.1 degrees toward the Equator.
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Last update: October 23, 2012
The Soyuz TMA-8 sits on the launch pad in Baikonur several hours before launch. Credit: NASA TV