29 May 2003 - The Soyuz launcher during transport to the launch pad
Science & Exploration

The launcher

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ESA / Science & Exploration / Space Science / Mars Express

Starsem, a European/Russian company, supplied the Soyuz/Fregat rocket that launched Mars Express on 2 June 2003.

The Soyuz rocket was first launched in November 1963 and has since flown more than 1500 times with a 98% success rate.

It usually has three stages, but a fourth stage is added for particularly demanding launches. In the case of Mars Express, this is the Fregat.

During the launch, the Fregat was ignited twice. The first ignition placed it into a circular orbit after separation from Soyuz. The second, a few hours later, injected Mars Express into its interplanetary trajectory.

Launcher mass capability
Launcher Launcher capability
Soyuz/Fregat 1200 kg (inc. launcher adapter)
Spacecraft item Current mass
Dry spacecraft: 680 kg
Propellant: 428 kg
Lander: 60 kg
Payload: 113 kg
Total launch mass 1108 kg

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