BAIKONUR SPACE CENTER /Kazakhstan/, August 22. /TASS/. In a groundbreaking, historic test flight, the Soyuz-2.1a carrier rocket along with the MS-14 spacecraft blasted off from the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan on Thursday headed to the International Space Station (ISS), with a Russian humanoid robot, known as Fedor, as its sole passenger on board. This flight mission is significant because it does not have a human crew.
With all systems go, the rocket lifted off from the Gagarin Start launch pad at 6:38 Moscow time.
Approximately nine minutes after the launch, the Soyuz separated from the third stage and embarked upon a two-day journey to the ISS.
At about 6:47 Moscow time, the spacecraft unfurled its solar panels.
Since 2002, Soyuz spacecraft has transported astronauts to the International Space Station, but this time for this test flight, this Soyuz-MS spacecraft is carrying Russia’s Skybot F-850 robot known as Fedor along with cargo to the space station. The docking is scheduled for 08:31 Moscow time on August 24.
Russia’s space industry switched to a next-generation rocket after its Ukrainian partners stopped deliveries of similar control systems installed on Soyuz-FGs. In wake of the 2014 tensions, both countries suspended space cooperation, so Russia was left with a limited number of Soyuz-FGs. The last launch of this rocket model will take place on September 21. Soyuz-2.1a rockets are equipped with Russian-made digital control systems.