The 1683rd flight of a Soyuz launch vehicle was performed Saturday, October 18, 2003 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 11:38 a.m. Baikonur time (7:38 a.m., in Paris).

Starsem and its Russian partners report that the Soyuz TMA-3 manned transport spacecraft was accurately placed on the target orbit. The international team is composed of Alexander Kaleri, Russian cosmonaut, Michael Foale, American astronaut and Pedro Duque, ESA’s European astronaut.

This was the 9th Soyuz family mission in 2003.

Soyuz sustained launch rate confirms its position as one of the world’s primary launch vehicles. This rate also demonstrates Samara Space Center’s continuous production capacity, as well as the operational capability of launch teams at Baikonur under the authority of the Russian Aviation and Space Agency.

Starsem is the Soyuz Company, bringing together all key players involved in the production, operation and international commercial marketing of the world’s most versatile launch vehicle. Shareholders in Starsem are Arianespace, EADS, the Russian Aviation and Space Agency and the Samara Space Center.

The Starsem manifest for Soyuz missions currently includes contracted launches for the European Space Agency, Eumetsat and Space Systems/Loral.