Soyuz launch site > Entry into service
Soyuz' service startup at the Spaceport in October 2011 introduced an updated version of this medium-lift workhorse vehicle in side-by-side operations with Arianespace's proven heavy-lift Ariane 5 and the lightweight Vega – which joined the company’s launcher family in 2012.
The upgraded Soyuz – with its modernized avionics, improved-performance third stage, and enlarged payload fairing – was validated in multiple successful launches from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan and Plesetsk Cosmodrome in Russia.
Soyuz flights from the Spaceport are managed by Arianespace's seasoned mission team members – many of whom already have direct Soyuz experience through commercial launches performed from Baikonur Cosmodrome by the company's Starsem affiliate. In addition, Spaceport operations are supported by the same Russian companies that have long overseen both manned and unmanned Soyuz missions.
The maiden flight of Soyuz at the Spaceport was an on-target mission that orbited two Galileo In-Orbit Validation (IOV) spacecraft on October 21, 2011.