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Russia’s new Soyuz-2.1a space rocket to blast off on 1st manned mission in March 2020

Since 2002, Russia has been using Soyuz-FG carrier rockets to deliver international crews to the orbital outpost

YEKATERINBURG, August 23. /TASS/. Russia’s new Soyuz-2.1a rocket will blast off for the first time with a manned spacecraft towards the International Space Station in March 2020, CEO of the Research and Production Association of Automatics (the developer of control systems for Soyuz-2.1a and other carrier rockets) Andrei Misyura said on Friday.

"The crewed flight will take place next year. These trials [the launch of the Soyuz-2.1a carrier rocket on Thursday] were actually the concluding tests. The layout of the Soyuz-2 carrier rocket, which lifted off with a manned spaceship [with only the humanoid robot Fedor on its board] is fully standard and is serially produced. We have held the concluding trials by this launch," the chief executive said at the TASS regional information center in the Urals, replying to the corresponding question.

The Soyuz-2.1a carrier rocket blasted off from the Gagarin Start launch pad of the Baikonur spaceport in Kazakhstan at 06:38 Moscow time on Thursday, delivering the Soyuz MS-14 spacecraft with the android robot Fedor into the near-Earth orbit. The spacecraft with the robot on its board is set to dock with the International Space Station at 08:31 Moscow time on August 24 after a two-day flight.

From 2002, Russia used Soyuz-FG carrier rockets to deliver international crews to the orbital outpost. From 2020, Russia is set to switch to Soyuz-2.1a rockets, which previously delivered only freight spaceships and satellites into orbit. The launch on August 22 is a test blastoff before a manned mission to the International Space Station.

The robot Fedor (Final Experimental Demonstration Object Research or FEDOR) has been developed by Android Technology Company and the Advanced Research Fund on a technical assignment from Russia’s Emergencies Ministry.

The android robot has received its own name of Skybot F-850 where the letter F stands for its affiliation with the Fedor family of robots.

As Roscosmos Chief Dmitry Rogozin said, the Skybot F-850’s basic goals include transmitting telemetry data, determining parameters related to the flight safety, including overloads, and carrying out experiments to test the robot’s operations useful on the external side of the space station.

The robot will stay about 17 days in orbit. In general, the robot Fedor will act as an artificial cosmonaut, the Roscosmos chief said.