The medium-lift Soyuz entered service from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana during 2011, bringing the industry's longest-operating launcher to the world's most modern launch base. Soyuz is a four-stage launcher, designed to extremely high reliability levels for its use in manned missions. Vehicles flown from the Spaceport are evolved versions that include an updated digital flight control system, an increased-performance third stage and the larger Soyuz ST payload fairing. The startup of Arianespace’s Soyuz missions from French Guiana opened a new chapter in the history of this robust vehicle, which introduced the space age with the launch of Sputnik – the world's first satellite – in 1957. Since then, Soyuz has been in continuous production, demonstrating its unmatched reliability with more than 1,800 manned and unmanned missions performed to date.
FIRST FLIGHT: OCTOBER 2011
RUSSIAN FEDERAL SPACE AGENCY PRIME SUPPLIER
PAYLOAD TO GTO: 3,250 KG
PAYLOAD TO SSO: 4,400 KG
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