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Soyuz rocket missions in 2012
January 26: In its first space launch of the year, Russia successfully sent a cargo ship to the International Space Station, ISS. The Soyuz-U rocket lifted off from Baikonur Cosmodrome on Jan. 26, 2012, at 03:06:40 Moscow Time. The launch vehicle successfully delivered the Progress M-14M spacecraft into its initial 190.97 by 261.92-kilometer orbit.
April 20: A Soyuz-U rocket carrying the Progress M-15M (Tail number 414) spacecraft lifted off from Site 31 at Baikonur Cosmodrome at 16:50:24 Moscow Summer Time (12:50 GMT) on April 20, 2012. Ten minutes after the liftoff, Russian mission control confirmed that the spacecraft had successfully separated from the third stage of the launch vehicle in the initial Earth orbit and its solar panels and antennas had deployed.
May 15: The Soyuz FG rocket carrying the Soyuz TMA-04M spacecraft blasted off from Pad No. 5 at Site 1 in Baikonur Cosmodrome on May 15, 2012, at 07:01:23 Moscow Time (03:01 GMT; 11:01 EST on Monday, May 14). Onboard were Russian cosmonauts Gennady Padalka (commander of the crew) and Sergei Revin (flight engineer); and a NASA astronaut Joe Acaba (flight engineer). They represent the 31st and 32nd long-duration expedition onboard the ISS. Around 10 minutes after the liftoff, mission control confirmed that the Soyuz made it to orbit successfully.
May 17: Russia launched a classified military payload, believed to be a Kobalt-M optical reconnaissance satellite. According to the Russian space forces, a Soyuz-U rocket lifted off from Pad 2 at Site 16 in Plesetsk on May 17, 2012, at 18:05 Moscow Time. The spacecraft successfully separated from the upper stage at 18:13 Moscow Time and established contact with Russian ground control stations. The payload received an official designation Kosmos-2480. According to data from Western radar, the spacecraft entered a 187 by 255-kilometer orbit with an inclination of 81.4 degrees toward the Equator. According to a spokesman for the Russian air and space defense forces Aleksei Zolotukhin, it was the last launch of the Soyuz-U rocket from Plesetsk.
July 15: The Soyuz TMA-05M (No. 706) spacecraft launched as scheduled on July 15, 2012, at 06:40:03.91 Moscow Time (02:40 GMT) starting a 120-day mission. The Soyuz-FG rocket lifted off from Site 1 in Baikonur Cosmodrome with Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko, NASA astronaut Sunita Williams and Japanese astronaut Akihiko Hoshide.
July 22: A Soyuz-FG/Fregat rocket blasted off from Site 31 in Baikonur on July 22, 2012, at 10:41:39 Moscow Time, carrying Russian Kanopus-V No. 1 remote-sensing satellite along with a similar BKA spacecraft built for the government of Belarus. As secondary payloads, the mission carried a Russian MKA-FKI science satellite, an exactView satellite for a Canadian company and a TET-1 experimental satellite funded by the German space agency, DLR.
According to the Russian space agency, the Fregat upper stage separated from the third stage of the launch vehicle at 10:50 Moscow Time and started its own flight including five firings of its main engine.
All five payloads reached orbit successfully. BKA separated from the Fregat at 11:26 Moscow Time, followed by Kanopus-V at 11:31, TET-1 at 11:33, exactView-1 and MKA-FKI at 13:00:33 Moscow Time, when flying over the Pacific Ocean beyond the communication range of Russian ground stations. The Fregat upper stage then conducted a deorbiting maneuver and reentered the Earth atmosphere at 13:50:53 Moscow Time.
August 1: The launch of the Soyuz-U rocket with the Progress M-16M spacecraft took place as scheduled on Aug. 1, 2012, at 23:35:13 Moscow Time (19:35 GMT; 3:35 p.m. EDT) from Baikonur's Site 1. The cargo ship followed a standard path to orbit before its separation from the third stage of the Soyuz rocket in the initial parking orbit at 23:44:02 Moscow Time.
October 31: A Russian cargo ship made a successful one-day trip to the International Space Station, ISS. A Soyuz-U rocket carrying the Progress M-17M (No. 417) spacecraft lifted off from Baikonur at 11:41:18 Moscow Time (07:41 GMT). It carried 2,400 kilograms of supplies for the crew of the orbital station. Following a four-orbit rendezvous profile, first tried during a previous mission, Progress M-17M successfully docked to the Zvezda service module within the Russian segment of the outpost at 17:33:46 Moscow Time (13:33 GMT).
During the preparation of the mission, on October 26, a fully assembled payload section was shipped from the processing area at Site 254 to a vehicle assembly building at Site 112 for integration with its Soyuz-U rocket.
November 14: Military personnel at Russia's northern launch site launched the latest-generation communications satellite Wednesday. The launch of the Soyuz-2-1a rocket with a Fregat upper stage took place on November 14, 2012, at 15:42:46 Moscow Summer Time from Pad No. 4 at Site 43 in Plesetsk Cosmodrome. The rocket was carrying the Meridian No. 6 satellite intended for military communications.
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Last update: February 11, 2013
Soyuz TMA-04M lifts off on May 14, 2012. Credit: NASA TV
Soyuz TMA-07M lifts off on Dec. 19, 2012. Credit: NASA TV
Separation of first stage boosters of the Soyuz FG rocket captured by cameras tracking the launch of Soyuz TMA-07M on Dec. 19, 2012. Credit: NASA TV