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союз / saju:z/ union

The term 'Soyuz' is usually associated with the Soviet Space program. In Russian this word means "union".  During the Communist times it was used in the abbreviation for the "USSR" .(The first "С" of the Russian  "CCCP" which means "The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics").

The Soyuz spacecraft appeared about 40 years ago. It  was designed by Korolyov Design Bureau in the 1960s. Soyuz can carry up to three cosmonauts and provide life support for them during about 30 days. This spacecraft has the reputation  of the safest in the world.

The Soyuz spacecraft family is still in service. It was used to deliver the crew to the Soviet Space Stations ('Salyut' and later 'Mir'). Today it's the main transport to and from the International Space Station. In the near future after the USA close down the shuttle missions Soyuz will be the only available vehicle to take astronauts to the orbiting laboratory.

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