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Soyuz-U
Part of R-7 Family

Soyuz LV

Soyuz LV
Credit: NASA

Russian standardized man-rated orbital launch vehicle derived from the original R-7 ICBM of 1957. It has been launched in greater numbers than any orbital launch vehicle in history. Not coincidentally, it has been the most reliable as well. After over 40 years service in Russia, ESA built a new launch pad at Kourou which will keep it in service from three launch sites in three countries well into the mid-21st Century.

AKA: 11A511U;A-2;Sapwood;SL-4;Soyuz;Soyuz 11A511U. Status: Active. First Launch: 1973-05-18. Last Launch: 2017-02-22. Number: 442 . Payload: 7,200 kg (15,800 lb). Thrust: 4,030.00 kN (905,980 lbf). Gross mass: 310,000 kg (680,000 lb). Height: 50.67 m (166.24 ft). Diameter: 2.95 m (9.67 ft). Apogee: 200 km (120 mi).

Soyuz-U was a standardized, modernized version of the R-7 launch vehicle with higher performance first and second stage engines. Improvements were made to the launch complexes, including unified test-launch ground support equipment. The booster was first used for the Apollo-Soyuz launches. Military applications included Zenit and Yantar military reconnaissance satellites. Soyuz 11A511U used chilled higher density fuel in the core stage to improve payload. This became the most-widely used version, launching a range of military and manned spacecraft for over thirty years.

Starsem Official Description

Considered in Russian terminology to be a three-stage vehicle, Soyuz is composed of a lower portion consisting of four boosters (first stage) and a central core stage (second stage); and an upper portion, composed of a third stage, payload adapter and fairings. Liquid oxygen and kerosene are used as propellants for the complete Soyuz launch vehicle.

The four first stage boosters are assembled laterally around the second stage central core. The boosters are identical and cylindrical-conic in shape -- with the oxygen tank in the upper cone-shaped portion and the kerosene tank in the lower cylindrical portion.

Ignition of the boosters and second stage central core occur simultaneously on the ground. When the boosters have completed their powered flight during ascent, they are separated and the core second stage continues to function.

The boosters' NPO Energomash RD-107 engines have four main chambers and a set of two gimbaled vernier thrusters. Three-axis flight control is ensured by the four sets of vernier thrusters.

The RD 107 engines' main chambers, like the vernier thrusters, are fed by a turbopump, which is powered by gasses generated from the catalytic decomposition of hydrogen peroxide in a gas generator. A pyrotechnic ignition switch provides ignition for the RD-107 engines.

Booster separation occurs when the predefined velocity is reached, and occurs at about 118 seconds after lift-off.

An NPO Energomash RD 108 engine powers the Soyuz second stage. This engine differs from those of the boosters by the presence of four vernier thrusters, which are necessary for three-axis flight control after booster separation.

An equipment bay located on top of the second stage operates during the entire flight of the first stage-second stages.

The third stage is linked to the second stage by a latticework structure. When the second stage's powered flight is complete, the third stage engine is ignited. Separation of the two stages occurs by the direct ignition forces of the third stage engine.

A single-turbopump RD 0110 engine from KB KhA powers the Soyuz third stage. It is fuelled by gases coming from the combustion of propellants through a generator. At the turbine exit, the gases are recovered to feed four vernier thrusters to ensure three-axis flight control.

The third stage engine is fired for about 240 seconds, and cut-off occurs when the calculated velocity increment is reached. The upper section with payload is separated by springs. The third stage then performs an avoidance maneuver by opening an outgassing valve in the liquid oxygen tank.

Soyuz launcher tracking and telemetry is provided through systems in the second and third stages. These two stages have their own radar transponder systems for ground tracking. Individual telemetry transmitters are in each stage.

Launcher health status is downlinked to ground stations along the flight path. Telemetry and tracking data are transmitted to the TsUP mission control center near Moscow, where the incoming data flow is recorded. Partial real-time data processing and plotting is performed for flight following and initial performance assessment. All flight data is analyzed and documented within a few hours after launch.

LEO Payload: 7,200 kg (15,800 lb) to a 200 km orbit at 51.60 degrees. Payload: 6,220 kg (13,710 lb) to a 240 km 51.8 deg orbit. Launch Price $: 40.000 million in 1999 dollars.

Stage Data - Soyuz 11A511U

  • Stage 0. 4 x Soyuz 11A511U-0. Gross Mass: 44,500 kg (98,100 lb). Empty Mass: 3,784 kg (8,342 lb). Thrust (vac): 994.300 kN (223,528 lbf). Isp: 310 sec. Burn time: 120 sec. Isp(sl): 264 sec. Diameter: 2.68 m (8.79 ft). Span: 2.68 m (8.79 ft). Length: 19.60 m (64.30 ft). Propellants: Lox/Kerosene. No Engines: 1. Engine: RD-107-11D511. Status: In Production. Comments: Gross mass includes 1190 kg of hydrogen peroxide and 280 kg of liquid nitrogen expended during ascent but not contributing to propulsion.
  • Stage 1. 1 x Soyuz 11A511U-1. Gross Mass: 105,400 kg (232,300 lb). Empty Mass: 6,875 kg (15,156 lb). Thrust (vac): 997.091 kN (224,155 lbf). Isp: 311 sec. Burn time: 286 sec. Isp(sl): 245 sec. Diameter: 2.95 m (9.67 ft). Span: 2.95 m (9.67 ft). Length: 27.80 m (91.20 ft). Propellants: Lox/Kerosene. No Engines: 1. Engine: RD-108-11D512. Status: In Production. Comments: Gross mass includes 2600 kg of hydrogen peroxide and 520 kg of liquid nitrogen expended during ascent but not contributing to propulsion.
  • Stage 2. 1 x Soyuz 11A511U-2. Gross Mass: 25,200 kg (55,500 lb). Empty Mass: 2,355 kg (5,191 lb). Thrust (vac): 298.100 kN (67,016 lbf). Isp: 330 sec. Burn time: 250 sec. Diameter: 2.66 m (8.72 ft). Span: 2.66 m (8.72 ft). Length: 6.74 m (22.11 ft). Propellants: Lox/Kerosene. No Engines: 1. Engine: RD-0110. Status: In Production.


More at: Soyuz-U.

Family: orbital launch vehicle. Country: Russia. Engines: RD-0110, RD-107-11D511, RD-108-11D512. Spacecraft: Oscar, Nauka, Zenit-2M satellite, Zenit-4MK, Zenit-4MT, Energia satellite, Soyuz 7K-T, Bion, Soyuz 7K-TM, Yantar-2K, Soyuz 7K-T/A9, Soyuz 7K-S, Zenit-4MKT, Soyuz 7K-MF6, Zenit-6U, Zenit-4MKM, Salyut 6, Progress, Soyuz T, Yantar-4K1, KRT-10, Resurs F1-17F41, Yantar-1KFT, Salyut 7, Astrozond, Yantar-4KS1, Efir, Zenit-8, ISS, Foton, Mir, Soyuz TM, Resurs F1-14F40, Resurs F2, Resurs F1-14F43, Pion, Orlets-1, Progress M, GFZ-1, AMOS, Inspector, PS Model, Mirka, YES, Resurs F1M, Globalstar, Yamal, Progress M1, IRDT, Cluster 2, Progress M-SO, Soyuz TMA, Nanosputnik. Projects: ASTP, Orlets, Resurs, Salyut. Launch Sites: Baikonur, Baikonur LC1, Plesetsk, Baikonur LC31, Plesetsk LC41/1, Plesetsk LC43/4, Plesetsk LC43/3, Plesetsk LC16/2. Stages: Soyuz 11A511U2-2, Molniya 8K78M-0, Molniya 8K78M-1. Agency: Korolev bureau.
Photo Gallery

Soyuz PlesetskSoyuz Plesetsk
Credit: TsSKB


Soyuz PlesetskSoyuz Plesetsk
Credit: TsSKB


Soyuz PlesetskSoyuz Plesetsk
Credit: TsSKB


Soyuz LVSoyuz LV
Credit: TsSKB


R-7 launch complex 1R-7 launch complex 1
Model of R-7 launch complex 1
Credit: © Mark Wade


R-7 aft endR-7 aft end
Credit: © Mark Wade


RD-0110 EngineRD-0110 Engine
Soyuz 11A511 Stage 2 engine displayed at Tsiolkovskiy Museum in Kaluga.
Credit: © Mark Wade


Soyuz LVSoyuz LV
Credit: © Mark Wade


Soyuz pad 1Soyuz pad 1
Credit: © Mark Wade


Soyuz ShroudsSoyuz Shrouds
Comparison of payload shroud and launch escape system development over the life of the Soyuz/Salyut/Mir program.
Credit: © Mark Wade


Progress launchProgress launch
Early Progress launches used the Soyuz shroud. Although the launch escape tour was retained to maintain the proven aerodynamics, the escape motors and grid stabilizers on the side of the shroud were deleted.


LC1 DetailLC1 Detail
Launch Complex 1 booster release arm counterweights.
Credit: © Mark Wade


LC1 DetailLC1 Detail
Launch Complex 1 elevator access.
Credit: © Mark Wade


LC1 flame pitLC1 flame pit
Close-up of flame pit of Launch Complex 1.
Credit: © Mark Wade


Flame pit of LC1Flame pit of LC1
Flame pit of Launch Complex 1.
Credit: © Mark Wade


LC1 DetailLC1 Detail
Launch vehicle base access platforms at Launch Complex 1.
Credit: © Mark Wade


LC1 DetailLC1 Detail
Launch Complex 1 with propellant cars, horizontal booster transporter.
Credit: © Mark Wade


LC1 DetailLC1 Detail
Launch Complex 1 booster release arm counterweights.
Credit: © Mark Wade


LC1 DetailLC1 Detail
Launch Complex 1 booster strap-on access arm. Note stars indicating number of successful launches.
Credit: © Mark Wade



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