Re-Entry: Final Soyuz U Upper Stage

Block I Upper Stage before being mated with Progress MS-05 – Photo: RSC Energia

The Block I third stage from the final Soyuz U rocket to fly to space re-entered the atmosphere on February 24, 2017 two days after launching from the Baikonur Cosmodrome to dispatch the Progress MS-05 cargo spacecraft into orbit for a cargo run to the International Space Station.

Closing a successful career of 44 years, Soyuz U gave Progress MS-05 a flawless nine-minute ride into orbit, sailing into a well-deserved retirement.  Finishing its role in the successful launch of Progress, the Block I stage completed an avoidance and passivation maneuver, arriving in an orbit of 187 by 224 Kilometers, inclined 51.6°. This orbit is very short-lived and coupled with the rocket body’s low mass and large surface area, it makes for a quick orbital decay, typically within two days of launch.

NORAD ID: 42057
Origin: Russia/CIS
Object: SL-4 Rocket Body
Type: Block I, Soyuz U 3rd Stage
Mass: 2,355kg
Inclination: 51.6°
Launched: February 22, 2017 – 05:58 UTC
Launch Vehicle: Soyuz U
Launch Site: 1/5 Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan

Re-Entry Prediction: February 24, 2017 – 09:55 UTC +/-6 Min.

Re-Entry Zone: Southeast Asia, Australia

Re-Entry Zone
Image: Spaceflight101/Orbitron