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ASTP, Mir space station, Soyuz spacecraft, cosmonauts, space programs

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Soyuz, piloted spacecraft used by Russia to transport crew members and supplies to space stations. Soyuz was first proposed in 1962 as part of the lunar program of the former Soviet Union. The first Soyuz flight carrying a cosmonaut (Soviet astronaut) was made in 1967. After the Soviets lost the race to put a person on the Moon in 1969, they redesigned Soyuz to be a ferry to their series of seven Salyut space stations and, later, to their Mir space station. Over the years, Soviet engineers improved the Soyuz spacecraft, producing the Soyuz Ferry (which flew from 1972 to 1981, bound for Salyut stations); the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project (ASTP) Soyuz (1974-1976, one of which docked with an American Apollo spacecraft); the Soyuz-T (1978-1986, bound for Salyut stations and for Mir); and the Soyuz-TM (1986-2001, bound for Mir and the International Space Station). In all, more than 70 Soyuz spacecraft have carried cosmonauts into orbit. After the break up of the Soviet Union in 1991, Russia took over most of the former country’s space programs, including the operation of Mir and the Soyuz spacecraft.


Portree, David S. F., B.A., M.S.

Freelance writer and space historian. Author of "Walking to Olympus: An EVA Chronology".

Article key phrases:

ASTP, Mir space station, Soyuz spacecraft, cosmonauts, space programs, International Space Station, Soviets, Soviet Union, orbit, crew members, Moon, Russia, break, race, person, series, country, years

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