Portal:Spaceflight/Selected article/Week 42 2008
The Soyuz programme (Russian: Союз, [saˈjus]); English: Union) is a human spaceflight programme that was initiated by the Soviet Union in the early 1960s. It was originally part of a Moon landing programme intended to put a Soviet cosmonaut on the Moon. Both the Soyuz spacecraft and the Soyuz rocket are part of this programme, which is now the responsibility of the Russian Federal Space Agency.
The Zond spacecraft was a derivative of Soyuz, designed to take a crew in a figure-eight orbit around the Earth and the moon but never achieving the degree of safety or political need to be used for such. The Progress series of unmanned cargo ships used to supply the Salyut, Mir and ISS space stations are also derived from Soyuz. Soyuz derivatives currently provide Russia's human spaceflight capability and are used to ferry personnel and supplies to and from the International Space Station. (more...)