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Soyuz MS-01 mission



Power for Soyuz MS spacecraft

One of the latest challenges in upgrading the Soyuz was the limitation of the ship's power-supply system. Many new features were coming with an increasing demand for electricity that solar panels and storage batteries had increasingly hard time to provide.

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Power Supply System, SEP

According to estimates made around 2010, the power consumption of around eight amperes aboard the Soyuz-T variant introduced at the beginning of the 1980s, was expected to grow to as much as 14.2 amperes on the Soyuz-TMA-M spacecraft (then still in development under a designation Series 700). (780)

One of the ways to address the problem was to install more efficient solar panels, which could have their own guidance mechanism capable of rotating them toward the Sun independently from the position of the spacecraft in orbit.

By the time the Soyuz MS reached the launch pad in 2016, solar panels remained in fixed position, but an overall area for the placement of electricity-producing photovoltaic cells was increased by 1.1 square meters. In addition, the efficiency of the cells was increased from 12 to 14 percent.

Finally, the spacecraft was upgraded with an extra (fifth) power-storage battery, known as 906V, with a capacity of 155 ampere-hour. Like four existing batteries, the new one was installed in the aggregate compartment, in the aft section of the spacecraft.


An upgraded solar panel of the Soyuz-MS spacecraft.


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The article and illustration by Anatoly Zak

Last update: April 20, 2020

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Soyuz-MS spacecraft during pre-launch processing at Site 254 in Baikonur in June 2016. Click to enlarge. Credit: Roskosmos


Power storage batteries can be seen in the tail section of the spacecraft. Click to enlarge. Credit: Roskosmos