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.
February 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.
July 28: Soyuz MS-05 launches fresh crew to ISS
September 13: Soyuz MS-06 enters orbit
In the third manned launch of 2017, the Soyuz MS-06 spacecraft carries three members of Expeditions 53 and 54 to the International Space Station, ISS. Russian cosmonaut Aleksandr Misurkin and NASA astronauts Mark Vande Hei and Joe Acaba lifted off from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan in the early hours of Sept. 13, 2017.
September 22: Soyuz-2-1b delivers GLONASS-M No. 52
Approaching the 35th anniversary since the birth of Russia's global navigation network, the nation's military launched the 55th mission to deploy and replenish the GLONASS constellation. The fresh satellite, designated GLONASS-M No. 52, rode a Soyuz-2-1b rocket from the northern spaceport in Plesetsk in the early hours of Sept. 22, 2017.
October 14: Soyuz-2-1a launches Progress MS-07
After a two-day delay due to technical problems, the Progress MS-07 cargo mission to resupply the ISS lifted off on Oct. 14, 2017, at 11:46:53 Moscow Time (4:46 a.m. EDT). The spacecraft successfully entered orbit and headed for a rendezvous with the station two days later.
November 28: Soyuz fails to deliver 19 satellites from Vostochny
The second Soyuz rocket mission from Russia's new Vostochny spaceport lifted off on November 28, carrying the Meteor-M2-1 weather and climate-monitoring satellite, along with a cluster of 18 secondary payloads. However the spacecraft had never established contact with mission control...
December 2: Soyuz-2-1b rocket delivers a military satellite
The Russian military personnel in Plesetsk orbited an operational spacecraft for electronic intelligence, known as Lotos-S1 or 14S145. A part of the Liana constellation, the mission lifted off on a Soyuz-2-1b rocket on Dec. 2, 2017, or just four days after another Soyuz-2 rocket lifted an ill-fated mission from Vostochny spaceport.
December 17: Soyuz-FG launches Soyuz MS-07
During the fourth and final manned launch of 2017, a Soyuz-FG successfully launched the Soyuz MS-07 spacecraft with three members of Expeditions 54 and 55 to the International Space Station, ISS. Russian cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov, NASA astronaut Scott Tingle and Japanese astronaut Norishige Kanai lifted off from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Dec. 17, 2017, for a 5.5-month shift aboard the ISS.
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