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Soyuz-FG retirement; Last launch from Gagarin’s Start to loft first Emirati astronaut

24 Sep 2019, 20:28 UTC
Soyuz-FG retirement; Last launch from Gagarin’s Start to loft first Emirati astronaut
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It’s the 70th and final ride for the Soyuz-FG rocket. Flying into retirement after a career dedicated to serving as a bridge between the older Soyuz-U and the newer Soyuz 2 rocket variants, the launch will mark the final use (as currently planned) of historic pad Site No. 1/5 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome from which human space exploration began over 58 years ago.
Aboard the Soyuz MS-15 crew vehicle will be an international crew of three, including Hazzaa AlMansoori from the United Arab Emirates who will become the first Emirati astronaut. Launch is set for 09:57:43 EDT (13:57:43 UTC), followed by docking to the Station just under six hours later at 15:45 EDT (19:45 UTC).
Soyuz-FG’s retirement:
In the mid-1990s, Roscosmos realized it would have to upgrade its Soyuz rocket to ensure continued competition in the global commercial market in the 21st century.
At the time, the space agency was utilizing the Soyuz-U, designed largely in the 1960s and having taken its first flight on 18 May 1973.
At the time, it was cutting edge, and Soyuz-U would go on to set several records, including the highest launch rate per year with 47 flights in 1979 and a total ...

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