Russian security officers walk along the railroad tracks as the Soyuz rocket is rolled out to the launch pad Monday, Sept. 28, 2009 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The Soyuz is scheduled to launch the crew of Expedition 21 and a spaceflight participant on Sept. 30, 2009. Image Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls
Yes, yes, yes...... we have the cool space shuttle. It's reusable and it makes a nice sonic boom on reentry. I'll give you all that and more. Can I say BUT and add another thought? How cool is this Russian Soyuz rocket!?
There is just something about this rocket that means business. There is no denying the fact that when this baby ignites it is going to go somewhere. I mean, just count the nozzles. Look at the shape and design. To me it has sleek and style all wrapped up into one complete package - and that has changed very little over the past fifty years or so.
I had the privilege of being one of the first Americans (if not the first) invited to Kazakhstan to tour the Baikonur Cosmodrome in the late 1980's towards the end of USSR. I was a guest of the Kazak government. My nephew and cousin accompanied me. We represented the Young Astronaut Club of American at the 30th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin's first flight into space. Boy have I got stories to tell about that adventure. They must wait. There isn't enough bandwidth to do them justice. Needless to say, it was the trip of a lifetime.
I do remember seeing several of the rockets at the Cosmodrome. I stood beside one, close enough to touch it. It was a religious experience (even though the USSR was still a pronounced atheistic nation at the time).
It impressed me then and they still do now. The Soyuz rocket is the workhorse of the Russian space program. It is reliable and gets the job done and for that I take my hat off to this wonder of the space age.
Soon we mothball our shuttles. The government is dragging its feet on the new Ares rocket meaning the Great United States will be left without a vehicle to take men into space. Wait, I misspoke....... we can still get an astronaut into space if we use the Soyuz Rocket!!! Well, that is the ultimate irony of the whole situation. What an embarrassment for the United States and what pride it instills in the Russian soul!