By the numbers
- The Soyuz launch vehicle has been in continuous production since 1957, demonstrating its unmatched reliability with more than 1,800 missions to date.
- Vega, which made its maiden flight in 2012, is designed with a target payload lift capability of 1,500 kg. on missions to a 700-km. circular orbit.
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Soyuz & Vega at the Spaceport
The Soyuz launch site receives its “muscle”
April 23, 2009
The launch infrastructure at Soyuz’ new operating base in French Guiana has literally risen from the pad as the system of two umbilical masts and four primary support arms has now been installed.
This marks another key step in preparations of the world’s newest launch facility for the medium-lift Soyuz, which will join Arianespace’s heavy-lift Ariane 5 and the future lightweight Vega in operations at the Spaceport. (Click on the images for a larger version):
A crane installs counterweights at the base of one of the four Soyuz support arms. When this ingenious support arm concept was originally developed for the Soyuz launch vehicle family, its designers gave it the nickname “tulip.” This refers to the tilt-back movement of its four “petals” – which begins when the arms are opened by Soyuz’ upward motion, followed by their tracking outward with the momentum provided by their counterweights.