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First test mission flight plan

In September 2004, officers of the Plesetsk Cosmodrome went through training on the Soyuz-2 at Samara development bureau and were certified for the work on the new vehicle.

The first launch of Soyuz-2 launcher, designated 1A, was scheduled to take place from Pad 4 at Site 43 in Plesetsk with a demo of the Oblik reconnaissance satellite. The spacecraft was built years ago, however could not be launched due to financial problems and was eventually declared unusable for its primary mission. Instead, the Oblik demo carried vibration and thermal sensors designed to measure the performance of the vehicle's propulsion system.

Launch preparations

The 1A mission was expected as early as beginning of 2004. At one point during 2004, October 15 was cited as the launch date by the Russian media.

However the first vehicle was shipped from the manufacturing plant in Samara only on Oct. 6, 2004 and arrived in Plesetsk on Oct. 11, 2004. The first launch was then scheduled for Oct. 29, 2004. Then, launch pad problems pushed back the mission to the period between November 2 and 5, 2004.

The launch date was then rescheduled for November 6, 2004 at 16:30 Moscow Time, however was delayed by technical problems again at the beginning of November 2004, as technical personnel was searching for hardware and software problems, which reportedly plagued the pre-launch processing.

Soyuz-2-1a flies

2004 Nov. 8: Russian efforts to upgrade the world's oldest family of launch vehicles reached another milestone Monday, November 8, 2004, with the test flight of the Soyuz-2-1a rocket.

The 313-ton launch-vehicle blasted off from from Pad 4 at Site 43 in Plesetsk at 21:30 Moscow Time, (1830 GMT), carrying a dummy of the Oblik reconnaissance satellite. According to the Russian Space Forces, KVR, the payload successfully reached the orbit at 21:38 Moscow Time, however immediately reentered. As it transpired later, the flight followed a ballistic trajectory and never reached the orbit.

Next mission of the Soyuz-2 rocket




The Soyuz-2 launcher on the refurbished launch pad in Plesetsk in 2004. Credit: Arianespace