The Soyuz launch vehicle family has provided reliable and efficient launch services since the birth of the space program.

Vehicles in this family, which have launched both the first satellite and first man into space, have been credited with more than 1800 launches to this date. Today, this vehicle is used for manned and unmanned flights to the International Space Station and commercial launches managed by Starsem.

Soyuz traces its roots back to the two-stage R-7A intercontinental ballistic missile, which was the first in an evolutionary series of launch vehicles, beginning with the launch of Sputnik in 1957.

As Sputnik was limited to LEO payloads up to 1.5 tons, the need to inject heavier payloads into orbit led to the addition of a third stage (Block E), thus giving birth to the Vostok launch vehicle. This vehicle launched the first unmanned spacecraft to the moon and in 1961 carried Yuri Gagarin into space.

Improvements in the 1960's included the replacement of the Block E 3rd stage with the significantly more powerful Block I. This improvement led to the Voskhod and then Soyuz configurations. A fourth stage added to the Block I was the Molniya vehicle, which was used to place satellites on highly elliptical orbits.

The addition of the restartable Ikar upper stage to the three-stage Soyuz in 1999 allowed Starsem to launch 24 satellites of the Globalstar constellation in 6 launches.

Following this success, Starsem introduced the flexible, restartable Fregat upper stage with significantly more propellant capacity than the Ikar, thus opening up a full range of missions (LEO, SSO, MEO, GTO, GEO, and escape).

The inaugural flight of a Soyuz 2-1a launch vehicle performed November 8, 2004 from the Plessetsk Cosmodrome marks a major step in the launch vehicle evolution program. This modernized version of Soyuz implements a digital control system providing additional mission flexibility and will enable control of the launch vehicle with the larger fairing.

The next steps of the Soyuz evolution program were the following:
- Introduction of the ST fairing upgrade providing customers with additional payload volume.
- Introduction of the Soyuz 2-1b, implementing a more powerful third stage engine significantly increasing the overall launch vehicle performance and providing additional payload mass capability.

With the introduction of Soyuz at the Guiana Space Center (CSG) and its successful historic launch on 21 October 2011, this famed Russian medium-class launch vehicle became an integral part of the European launch vehicle fleet, together with the heavy-lift Ariane 5 and the lightweight Vega. Offered to the commercial market, the Soyuz in French Guiana is Europe's reference medium-class launch vehicle for governmental and commercial missions.

The Soyuz configuration introduced in 1966 has been the workhorse of the Soviet/Russian space program, achieving a high launch success rate in over 800 flights. As the only manned launch vehicle in Russia and the former Soviet Union, the Soyuz benefits from exacting standards in both reliability and robustness.

The Samara Space Center continues to mass-produce the Soyuz in Samara, Russia, and has facilities dimensioned for the production of up to 4 launch vehicles per month. In fact, peak production of the Soyuz in the early 1980's reached 60 vehicles per year. As a result of continued demand from the Russian government, International Space Station activity, and Starsem's commercial orders, the Soyuz is in uninterrupted production at an average rate of 10 to 15 launch vehicles per year with a capability to rapidly scale up to accommodate user's needs.

The Soyuz is a reliable, efficient, and cost-effective solution for a full range of missions from LEO to Mars. The Soyuz has already accomplished virtually every type of mission, including orbiting satellites for telecommunications, Earth observation, weather monitoring, scientific missions and manned flights. It is a highly responsive and flexible launch vehicle.

With exclusive responsibility for the Soyuz's commercial marketing, sales, and management, Starsem is truly "The Soyuz Company."