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SpaceViews: Russia Planning Soyuz Launches from Plesetsk

The following article is from the December 1996 issue of SpaceViews, an online monthly magazine put out by the Boston chapter of the NSS. It reports that the Soyuz capsule, one of the options for lauching the crew under examination, will be updated and launched from a different spaceport.

               Russia Planning Soyuz Launches from Plesetsk

        Russia is designing a new version of its workhorse Soyuz rocket
which it plans to use for manned missions from its northern launch
facility at Plesetsk, the Chinese news agency Xinhau reported.
        The Soyuz-2, or Rus, rocket will enter flight tests next year, the
news agency reported. The Soyuz-2 differs from earlier versions of the
rocket by an advanced on-board computer guidance system and a newly-
designed third stage.
        The Soyuz-2 will have an additional 800 kg (1760 lb) payload
capacity. Russian planners reportedly plan to use it in the future to
launch Soyuz capsules from the northern facility at Plesetsk instead of
the current facility at Baikonur in Kazakhstan.
        Russia currently uses the Soyuz-U to launch manned and unmanned
payloads to the Mir space station. A more powerful version, the Soyuz-
U2, was taken out of service this year when the fuel it used was no
longer available.

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