The Soyuz Types
There are several variations on the Soyuz ("union") type craft, and they have been used for a variety of programs.
The first manned Soyuz type is simply referred to as (duh!) "Soyuz". This version was used for the Soyuz (1,3-9), Salyut (10-13,17,18,20,25-40), Almaz (14,15,21,23,24), and ASTP (16,19,22) programs. The Soyuz Ferry lacked the solar arrays of the original and was used for space station missions.
The Soyuz T was a heavily modified version of the original Soyuz and was adapted for use as a transport. It was used for the Salyut 6 and 7 space stations. The final Soyuz T (15) was a Mir mission, although it did pay a visit to Salyut 7 before returning to Earth.
The Soyuz TM craft are modifications of the Soyuz T and designed for use with Mir (2-30). It can carry two or three cosmonauts. It was also used for the ISS (31-34).
This version of the Soyuz incorporates changes to satisfy NASA requirements for use as a lifeboat for the International Space Station. Changes include new cockpit displays, improved parachute systems, and more flexibility with the weight and height of the crew members.
|Credit: russianspaceweb.com||Credit: NASA TV|
This newer version upgrades the TMA by replacing
obsolete equipment with current generation equipment. There is a new
computer and digital avionics. Weight has been reduced by 154 pounds (70
The forward section in the left hand image is the orbital module. The center section is the descent module, and the rear portion (with the solar arrays) is the service module. Only the descent module survives reentry.
Lunar Soyuz (L1 Zond)
Another variation of the Soyuz family was the 7K-L1. This version was to allow a direct launch for circumlunar flight. It was used in the Zond ("probe") program, but was never used for a manned mission. There was also an L2 and L3 variant.
Soyuz craft were also modified to be cargo vessels for delivering supplies to space stations. These are called "Progress". A second generation of these cargo craft is called "Progress M", and the third (current) generation are referred to as "Progress M1". The latest generation is designated Progress M-xxM. Most of the Progress mission vessels have been destroyed upon reentry, although a few have carried cargo back and been recovered.