A Soyuz-2.1b carrier rocket with a military spacecraft was launched from the Plesetsk spaceport, the press service of the Russian defense ministry said on Thursday. It was the 51st launch of a Soyuz-2 carrier rocket by the Russian aerospace forces. All pre-launch operations and the launch of the Soyuz-2.1B space rocket (SR) took place in normal mode. The means of the ground-based automated control complex for spacecraft of the Russian orbital group controlled the launch and flight of the SR. Two minutes after the launch, the Soyuz-2 launch vehicle was accepted for escort by ground-based controls of the Main Test Space Center named after Herman Titov. The launch of the spacecraft into the calculated orbit by the Fregat upper stage will take several hours. In total, more than 40 ground-based measuring devices and more than 70 combat crews of the 15th army of the Aerospace Forces of special purpose were involved in ensuring the launch of the spacecraft of the Russian Ministry of Defence.
Soyuz-2 (GRAU index 14A14) is a modernized version of the Soviet Soyuz rocket. In its basic form, it is a three-stage launch vehicle for placing payloads into low Earth orbit. Compared to the previous versions of the Soyuz, the first-stage boosters and two core stages feature uprated engines with improved injection systems. Digital flight control and telemetry systems allow the rocket to be launched from a fixed launch platform, whereas the launch platforms for earlier Soyuz rockets had to be rotated as the rocket could not perform a roll to change its heading in flight. The 2.1b version adds an upgraded engine (RD-0124) which greatly increases the specific impulse of the upper stage (326 seconds to 359 seconds), and hence improves payload capability from 7 tonnes to 8.2 tonnes. First launch took place from Plesetsk Cosmodrome Site 43 on 26 July 2008 with a classified military payload. The 2.1b/ST version is sometimes called Soyuz ST-B. The first launch, from Centre Spatial Guyanais, was a success (21 October 2011), for the first two Galileo IOV satellites. The Soyuz-2 has replaced the Molniya-M, Soyuz-U and Soyuz-FG since 2010, 2017 and 2019 respectively.