Starsem and its Russian partners announce the 1656th successful launch
of the Soyuz from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Lift-off occurred
Wednesday, February 26th at 13:09 a.m. Baikonur local time, 9:09 a.m.
in Paris. The Progress vessel, which was the payload for this launch,
was accurately placed on the target orbit.This second Soyuz launch in
2001 was the 60th consecutive successful launch in the Soyuz launch vehicle
family. 8 of these 60 successes were manned flights. 8 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.

(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).