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The Soyuz Launch Vehicle

"The Soyuz Launch Vehicle" tells the story, for the first time in a single English-language book, of the extremely successful Soyuz launch vehicle. Built as the world's first intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), Soyuz was adapted to launch not only Sputnik but also the first man to orbit Earth, and has been in service for over fifty years in a variety of forms. It has launched all Soviet manned spacecraft and is now the only means of reaching the International Space Station. It was also the workhorse for launching satellites and space probes and has recently been given a second life in French Guiana, fulfilling a commercial role in a joint venture with France. No other launch vehicle has had such a long and illustrious history. This remarkable book gives a complete and accurate description of the two lives of Soyuz, chronicling the recent cooperative space endeavors of Europe and Russia. The book is presented in two parts: Christian Lardier chronicles the "first life" in Russia while Stefan Barensky explores its "second life," covering Starsem, the Franco-Russian company and implementation of technology for the French Guiana Space Agency by ESA. Part One has been developed from Russian sources, providing a descriptive approach to very technical issues. The second part of the book tells the contemporary story of the second life of Soyuz, gathered from Western sources and interviews with key protagonists. "The Soyuz Launch Vehicle" is a detailed description of a formidable human adventure, with its political, technical, and commercial ramifications. At a time when a new order was taking shape in the space sector, the players being the United States, Russia, Europe and Asia, and when economic difficulties sometimes made it tempting to give up, this book reminds us that in the global sector, nothing is impossible.
Product Details

Table of Contents

Part I: Soyuz in the East.- The V-2's heir.- Designing the Semyorka.- The Council of Chief Designers.- Korolev's Subsidiaries.- The Various Versions.- The Launch Bases.- Part II: Soyuz in the West.- A Fantasy Launcher.- East meets West.- Genesis of Starsem.- Europeans on the Steppe.- Russians in the Jungle.- Soyuz - Launcher of the Future.

About the Author

Christian Lardier has been space editor at Air & Cosmos (, an aerospace industry news source since 1994, and is the author of several magazine articles as well as the book "La cosmonautique sovietque" (Armand Colin, 1992). From 1991 to 1996, Lardier was accredited by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Moscow. To write this book, "The Soyuz Launch Vehicle," Lardier worked with specialists at the State Research and Production Space-Rocket Center of Samara. Born in 1965, Stefan Barensky is a professional science and technology writer. He has been reporting on space technologies and industries since 1991 as an editor for multiple French and international space, trade, and political publications such as "Science & Vie," "Interavia," "Air & Cosmos," "Aero Defense News," and "European Voice." A former space transportation analyst at Euroconsult and Launchspace, and editor-in-chief of the Orbital Launcher Report monthly newsletter, he also witnessed the gradual Westernizing of Soyuz from the inside as an editorial consultant to Aerospatiale (now Astrium), Arianespace, CNES, ESA.

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