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Image Credit: Roscosmos.

Soyuz to launch veteran cosmonaut and two spaceflight participants to the ISS

A Russian Soyuz 2.1a rocket is scheduled to blast off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Tuesday morning, October 05, 2021 at 08:55 UTC / 13:55 QYZT (local time), carrying the Soyuz MS-19 spacecraft into a low Earth orbit and toward the International Space Station (ISS).

The three-person crew onboard the spacecraft, consisting of veteran cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov and the two Russian spaceflight participants, movie director Klim Shipenko and actress Yulia Peresild, are expected to rendezvous with the orbital laboratory about 3 1/2 hours after their launch. The three will dock to the Earth-facing docking port of the station’s Rassvet module at 12:12 UTC. Prior to the arrival of Soyuz MS-19, the Soyuz MS-18 spacecraft was relocated from Rassvet to the Earth-facing docking port of the newly arrived Russian Nauka laboratory module.

While Shkaplerov will stay onboard the ISS for several months, Shipenko and Peresild, who will film a movie onboard the ISS, will return back to Earth after about 12 days in space. They will depart the station on October 17 together with cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy onboard the Soyuz MS-18. The Russian cosmonaut Pyotr Dubrov and NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei, who launched to the space station together with Novitskiy, will return to the planet in March 2022 with Soyuz MS-19 commander Anton Shkaplerov.

Soyuz MS-19 and its launch vehicle at the launch pad in Baikonur. Image Credit: Roscosmos.
Soyuz MS-19 and its launch vehicle at the launch pad in Baikonur. Image Credit: Roscosmos.

The Soyuz launch vehicle

The Soyuz rocket is a Russian launch vehicle derived from the Vostok rocket, the launch vehicle used to launch Yuri Gagarin, the first human to fly to space.

The rocket first flew in 1966 and has since conducted over 1,900 crewed and uncrewed launches, making the vehicle the most frequently flown rocket ever developed.

The rocket is launched from four different spaceports in three countries on three continents and is capable of carrying over eight tonnes into a low Earth orbit, or over three tonnes into a geostationary transfer orbit.

The Soyuz 2, the modernized version of the Soyuz currently in service, had its maiden flight in 2004 from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in Russia.

The Soyuz 2.1a, the configuration used to launch the Soyuz MS-19 spacecraft to the ISS, is a three-stage, liquid-fueled, medium-lift launch vehicle.

The first stage is comprised of four liquid oxygen (LOX) / RP-1 fueled strap-on boosters, known as Blok-B, V, G and D. Each booster is 19.6 m in length, up to 2.68 m in diameter and is equipped with a single four-chamber RD-107A rocket engine, providing over 800 kN of thrust at sea level.

The four boosters are attached to the Blok-A core stage, which has a length of 27.10 m, a diameter of up to 2.95 m and a launch mass of almost 100 tonnes. The Blok-A is powered by a four-chamber RD-108A rocket engine, burning liquid oxygen and RP-1 as propellants. The stage has a burn time of over 280 s and provides almost 800 kN of thrust.

The rocket’s third stage, known as the Blok-I, is 6.70 m tall, has a diameter of 2.66 m and a launch mass of about 28 tonnes. It also utilized LOX and RP-1 as propellants and provides around 300 kN of thrust in vacuum.

The Soyuz spacecraft is attached to the Blok-I upper stage and is protected by an aerodynamic shroud.

A Soyuz 2.1a launches Soyuz MS-18 into space. Image Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls.
A Soyuz 2.1a launches Soyuz MS-18 into space. Image Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls.

Mission profile

At T 0, the four RD-107A rocket engines of the Soyuz’s four boosters and the single RD-108A engine of the rocket’s core stage will ignite, lifting the launch vehicle off the pad and toward low Earth orbit.

About two minutes after launch, propellant levels in the four boosters deplete and they will be jettisoned from the Blok-A core stage. Around the same time, the launch escape tower atop the Soyuz and the shroud around the spacecraft will be jettisoned.

Almost five minutes into the flight, the Blok-A runs out of propellant and separates from the Blok-I third stage, which then continues to propel Soyuz MS-19 toward low Earth orbit.

About 8 minutes 45 seconds after liftoff, the rocket’s third stage will shut down and the Soyuz spacecraft separates from the launch vehicle. Shortly afterward, Soyuz MS-19 will deploy its two solar arrays and its navigation antennas and will begin its 3 1/2 hours long journey to the International Space Station.


Sources:

https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacestation/2021/10/01/russian-crew-ship-rolls-out-station-keeps-up-science-and-spaceship-tasks/

http://en.roscosmos.ru/22390/

https://www.arianespace.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Soyuz-Users-Manual-March-2012.pdf

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SobHsVuwpgI

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