Soyuz rocket missions in 2017
At the beggining of the year, officials at RKTs Progress, the Soyuz rocket manufacturer, promised to fly 19 rockets from the Soyuz family, which would be two more than even during very busy 2015. In fact, in the first four months of 2017, the Soyuz was the only Russian launch vehicle in business of reaching orbit!
The Soyuz-ST-B/Fregat-MT rocket carrying the Hispasat-36W-1 satellite lifted off as scheduled on Jan. 27, 2017, at 22:03:34.428 p.m. local time from the ELS launch complex, a part of the Kourou launch site.
Feb. 22: Soyuz-U flies its last mission with Progress MS-05
A fresh cargo ship lifted off from Baikonur Cosmodrome on Feb. 22, 2017, resuming Russian supply missions to the International Space Station, ISS, after the failed launch of Progress MS-04 on Dec. 1, 2016. In the ISS flight manifest, the Progress MS-05 spacecraft had a designation 66P denoting the 66th Russian cargo mission heading to the outpost, while in production documentation it was designated No. 435. The mission also marked the last launch of the Soyuz-U variant within the legendary Russian rocket family.
April 20: Soyuz MS-04 launches fresh crew to ISS
May 18: Soyuz rocket launches SES-15 satellite
A Russian-built Soyuz booster operated by the European Arianespace consortium is delivering a commercial communications satellite to service the Americas. The only Russian launcher family currently in operation, the Soyuz made its fourth liftoff in 2017 and its second flight with a payload bound to the geostationary orbit from Kourou, French Guiana. The VS17 mission lifted off as scheduled on May 18, at 08:54:53 local time (7:54 a.m. EDT) and will release the SES-15 satellite 5 hours 18 minutes 28 seconds later.
May 25: Soyuz-2-1b launches second EKS satellite
The second EKS/Tundra satellite blasted off from Plesetsk on a Soyuz-2-1b (14A14-1b) rocket with a Fregat-M upper stage on May 25, 2017, at 09:34 Moscow Time (01:34 EDT). Upon reaching its nominal orbit, the spacecraft was officially identified as Kosmos-2518.
June 14: Soyuz-2-1a rocket launches Progress MS-06
A Soyuz-2-1a rocket rocket carrying the Progress MS-06 (No. 436) cargo ship lifted off as from Pad 6 at Site 31 in Baikonur on June 14, 2017, at 12:20:13 Moscow Time (5:20 a.m. EDT). The spacecraft separated from the third stage of the launch vehicle at 12:29:02 Moscow Time (5:29 a.m. EDT), just over three seconds after the third stage engine shutdown.
June 23: Soyuz-2-1v launches Napryazhenie payload
On June 27, the Chief Designer Council, overseeing the development of Soyuz rockets, met at RKTs Progress in the city of Samara, where this rocket family is manufactured. According to the official press-release issued a day later, the meeting re-confirmed two launches of the Soyuz rockets from the Vostochny launch site in the 4th quarter of 2017 with Kanopus-V No. 3-4 and Meteor-M No. 1-2 satellites. The head of the launch vehicle development at RKTs Progress Dmitry Baranov reported that the rockets for the two missions had been scheduled for shipment to Vostochny at the end of August and the end of October.
The same meeting also reviewed preparations for switching the Soyuz-2 series of rockets to a new fuel, known in Russian as naftil.
July 14: Soyuz-2-1a launches Kanopus-V-IK and 72 hitchhikers
A Soyuz-2.1a/Fregat lifted off as scheduled from Site 31 in Baikonur on July 14, 2017, at 09:36:49 Moscow Time (06:36 GMT, 02:36 EDT). The launch vehicle carried the Kanopus-V-IK Earth-imaging satellite and a cluster of 72 secondary payloads into a near-polar orbit.
Launches of the Soyuz rocket family in 2017:
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Soyuz-ST-B lifts off with Hispasat-36W-1 on Jan. 27, 2017. Click to enlarge. Credit: Arianespace
Access gantry is being retracted from Soyuz-2 rocket shortly before launch of Progress MS-06 on June 14, 2017. Click to enlarge. Credit: Roskosmos
The access gantry is being retracted around Soyuz-2-1a rocket, as personnel evacuates Pad 6 shortly before liftoff on July 14, 2017. Click to enlarge. Credit: Roskosmos
Soyuz-2-1a lifts off on July 14, 2017. Click to enlarge. Credit: Roskosmos