The discussion over here will be about Soyuz rocket which is now the most popular and primary form of transportation to the International Space Station. After the space shuttle program got over in the year 2011, NASA bought astronauts seats on Soyuz spacecraft.
The initial plan is to buy spots for NASA astronauts until the commercial crew spacecraft is ready, and in all probability, it will be done by 2019.
A brief description on Soyuz rockets:
Let’s discuss a little about the Soyuz rocket. The information will be given in a brief to have an initial understanding of the system.
Soyuz is considered to be one of the oldest rocket lines still used. The first launch of Soyuz took place on 28th November 1966 from the Vostok launcher. Vostok is the first family of rockets that took soviet astronauts to space in the early 60’s.
The Soyuz rocket has multiple variants which are hardly known to people. Soyuz 2.1 has been designed specially, for the ISS cargo, Soyuz FG is made to ferry astronauts to the ISS, and finally, Soyuz-FG also known as Starsem is used for commercial operations.
The Facts revealed that Soyuz uses RP-1 and liquid oxygen as a propellant. There are other features like height and payload capacity which depends on the variant that is used. There is no such complete information about the structure of Soyuz as nothing more has been revealed.
Stories of great launches of Soyuz
If facts are believed, then Soyuz is the world’s longest-lived rocket line till now. It has flown more than 1700 times and is also the most reliable and compatible rocket in the world.
In comparison to successful launches, the failure count is much less. The Soyuz 1 and 11 killed four astronauts between them, and the mission failed at the time of re-entry but not the launch.
Examples of some unexpected failures of Soyuz
October 5th 2002- During the launch of Photon- M Satellite, a Soyuz U exploded after 29 of Litoff. A ground crew member was killed around eight people were injured.
June 21st 2005- The second and the third stage of the rocket along with the satellite crashed into the ground in Siberia.
November 28th 2017- This is most recent case where exactly nineteen satellites raising abroad the Soyuz rocket were unreachable. The issue in this accident was due to the main satellite programming.