Starsem and its Russian partners announce the 1655th successful launch of the Soyuz from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Lift-off occurred Wednesday, January 24th at 9:28 a.m. Baikonur local time, 5:28 a.m. in Paris. The Progress vessel, which was the payload for this launch, was accurately placed on the target orbit.This first Soyuz launch in 2001 was the 59th consecutive successful launch in the Soyuz launch vehicle family. 8 of these 59 successes were manned flights. 9 additional Soyuz launches are planned during the year from the Baikonur Cosmodrome.
This sustained launch rate confirms the position of the Soyuz as one of the principal launch vehicles in the world. Further, this rate demonstrates the continuous production capacity of the Samara Space Center and the operational capacity of the Baikonur launch teams, under the authority of the Russian Aviation and Space Agency.
Starsem (Russian Aviation and Space Agency – 25%, Samara Space Center – 25%, EADS – 35%, Arianespace – 15%) offers the Soyuz launch vehicle on the international commercial market, concentrating primarily on the Soyuz-Fregat and Soyuz/ST configurations.
The Starsem manifest currently includes contracted launches for Alcatel Space Industries (SkyBridge), the European Space Agency (Mars Express) and Eumetsat (Metop).