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Serial rocket engines RD-107А/108А made by JSC Kuznetsov, a Samara enterprise of Rostec’s United Engine Corporation, ensured a successful launch of SOYUZ-2.1a rocket with its Fregat acceleration unit. The South Korean CAS500-1 spacecraft was the main payload alongside 37 other satellites.

The rocket was launched from Site No. 31 of the Baikonur Cosmodrome on 22 March at 9:07 a.m. (Moscow time). Engines installed on the first and second stages of Soyuz-2.1a launch vehicle ran smoothly. To mark the 60th anniversary of the first human spaceflight, SOYUZ-2.1a is painted white and blue instead of traditional grey and orange colors, like the VOSTOK-1 spacecraft.

Modified engines RD-107А/108А are installed on the first and second stages of all launch vehicles of R-7 type (including launch vehicles like SOYUZ) since 1958. Serial production of engines takes place at JSC Kuznetsov with the support from JSC “NPO Energomash named after academician V.P. Glushko”. Reliability of products is statistically higher than 99.9 per cent.

Jack Richardson