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Soyuz-2 booster launches in 2015 to break record of 2014

Fourteen launches of Soyuz-2 were carried out in 2014, and twenty have already been ordered for next year

YEKATERINBURG, December 30. /TASS/. A record number of Soyuz-2 carrier rockets were launched in 2014, but the record may very well be broken in 2015, Leonid Shalimov, CEO of the Yekaterinburg-based NPO Avtomatiki automatic control engineering research and production association, told TASS on Tuesday.

“Fourteen launches of Soyuz-2 were carried out in 2014 - a record number in the company history. Meanwhile, a total of 19 launches were planned in the outgoing year, five have been postponed till 2015,” he said, adding that 20 rocket launching sets have already been ordered for next year.

According to Shalimov, the main achievement of the year was even not the record high number of launches, but the first orbiting of a cargo spacecraft and carrying out the last two launches without DM blocks. “During all launches the orbit dispersion was practically zero. The digital control system was very good in precision orbiting. The carrier rockets’ control systems worked perfectly,” he said.

Soyuz-2, GRAU index 14A14, is the collective designation for the new version of the Russian Soyuz rocket. In its basic form, it is a three-stage carrier rocket for placing payloads into low Earth orbit. The first-stage boosters and two core stages feature uprated engines with improved injection systems, compared to the previous versions of the Soyuz. Digital flight control and telemetry systems allow the rocket to be launched from a fixed launch platform, whereas the launch platforms for earlier Soyuz rockets had to be rotated as the rocket could not perform a roll to change its heading in flight.

The first launch of the Soyuz-2.1 rocket was carried out on November 8, 2004. A total of 42 launches of this type of carrier rocket and its modifications have been carried out over the past decade. The main difference of Soyuz-2 from the Soyuz-U base rocket is the use of the modern digital control system (not analogue) with a set of precision instruments, created on the national component base. The digital system easily adapts to flight conditions, including accidental exposure.

NPO Avtomatiki is a leading Russian enterprise engaged in the design and manufacturing of control and radio-electronic equipment for rocket and space systems and industrial technological process automation. The company creates in an integrated mode unique automated systems and control complexes, widely used in outer space, at sea, in the oil and natural gas production sphere, metallurgy, power engineering, housing and public utilities and at transport.