43 years in space: Russian Soyuz-U rocket retires after 788 missions
A new freighter sent into space by Russia resumed resupply missions to the ISS, but it was also the final launch of Soyuz-U – the longest-serving rocket in history. RT recalls some of the most remarkable facts about the record-breaking craft.
The Soyuz-U rocket was launched by Russia’s space agency (Roscosmos) on Wednesday from the Baikonur cosmodrome located in the middle of Kazakhstan’s steppes. Inside the rocket is the Progress MS-05, a freighter carrying 2.5 tons of miscellaneous cargo – fuel, food, water, sanitation, oxygen and air, as well as spare parts, supplies and experiment hardware – to the International Space Station (ISS).
While the resupply mission was generally considered a success, according to Roscosmos officials it was the last time the rocket will blast off from Baikonur after several decades of non-stop service. What’s more, the Soyuz-U was in use for 43 years continuously – much longer than any orbital rocket worldwide.
But the history of Soyuz-U is not reduced to its lifespan. Here are the most stunning facts about the legendary rocket.