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Soyuz (spacecraft) facts for kids

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Soyuz TMA-7 spacecraft2edit1.jpg
Soyuz spacecraft (TMA version)
Manufacturer RKK Energia
Country of origin Soviet Union, Russian Federation
Operator Soviet space program (1967–91)
Roscosmos (1991 onwards)
Applications Carry cosmonauts to orbit and back; originally intended for Soviet Moonshot and Salyut space station transportation.
Design life Up to six months docked to station
Regime Low Earth orbit (circumlunar spaceflight during early program)
Status In service
Maiden launch (Uncrewed) November 28, 1966 (Crewed) Soyuz 1 April 23, 1967
Related spacecraft
Derivatives Shenzhou, Progress

Soyuz (Russian: Союз, English: Union) is a series of spacecraft designed for the Soviet space programme. It was first used in the 1960s. The Soyuz spacecraft is launched on a Soyuz rocket, the most frequently used and most reliable launch vehicle in the world to date. All Soyuz spacecraft are launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.


The first Soyuz flight had no people aboard. It launched on November 28, 1966. The first Soyuz mission with a crew, Soyuz 1, launched on 23 April 1967 but crashed, killing cosmonaut Vladimir Komarov. Soyuz 3 (October 26, 1968) was the first successful manned mission. Now, the Soyuz is widely considered the world's safest, most cost-effective human spaceflight vehicle. Soyuz spacecraft were used to carry cosmonauts to and from Salyut and later Mir Soviet space stations, and are now used for transport to and from the International Space Station (ISS). At least one Soyuz spacecraft is docked at the ISS at all times for use as an escape craft in the event of an emergency.

Spacecraft systems

Soyuz diagrama
Soyuz diagram
Soyuz rocket and spaceship V1-1
Exploded plan of the Soyuz MS spacecraft.
  • Thermal control systemSistema Obespecheniya Teplovogo Rezhima, SOTR
  • Life support systemKompleks Sredstv Obespecheniya Zhiznideyatelnosti, KSOZh
  • Power supply systemSistema Elektropitaniya, SEP
  • Communication and tracking systems – Rassvet (Dawn) radio communications system, onboard measurement system (SBI), Kvant-V spacecraft control, Klyost-M television system, orbit radio tracking (RKO)
  • Onboard complex control systemSistema Upravleniya Bortovym Kompleksom, SUBK
  • Combined propulsion systemKompleksnaya Dvigatelnaya Ustanovka, KDU
  • Chaika-3 motion control system (SUD)
  • Optical/visual devices (OVP) – VSK-4 (Vizir Spetsialniy Kosmicheskiy-4), night vision device (VNUK-K, Visir Nochnogo Upravleniya po Kursu), docking light, pilot's sight (VP-1, Vizir Pilota-1), laser rangefinder (LPR-1, Lazerniy Dalnomer-1)
  • Kurs rendezvous system
  • Docking systemSistema Stykovki i Vnutrennego Perekhoda, SSVP
  • Teleoperator control modeTeleoperatorniy Rezhim Upravleniya, TORU
  • Entry actuators systemSistema Ispolnitelnikh Organov Spuska, SIO-S
  • Landing aids kitKompleks Sredstv Prizemleniya, KSP
  • Portable survival kitNosimiy Avariyniy Zapas, NAZ, containing a TP-82 Cosmonaut survival pistol or Makarov pistol
  • Soyuz launch escape systemSistema Avariynogo Spaseniya, SAS


The Soyuz spacecraft has three parts:

  • A round orbital module, which provides space for the crew;
  • A small reentry module, which gets the crew back to Earth;
  • A service module with solar panels, which contains instruments and engines.

Orbital module

The orbital module is also called the Habitation section. It has all the equipment not needed for reentry, such as experiments, cameras and cargo. It also contains a docking collar for docking to space stations. It does not come back to earth.

Orbital Module

Reentry module

The reentry module is used for launch and the journey back to earth. Half of it is covered in heat protection tiles. It comes back to earth.

Reentry module

Service module

The service module has solar panels. It contains systems for temperature control, electric power supply, long-range radio communications and radio telemetry. It does not come back to earth.

Service module

Images for kids

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Soyuz para niños

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