Soyuz launch (sound) Soyuz is a family of Soviet expendable launch systems developed by OKB-1 and manufactured by Progress Rocket Space Centre in Samara, Russia. With over 1,700 flights since its debut in 1966, the Soyuz is the most frequently used launch vehicle in the world. For nearly a decade, between the final flight of the Space Shuttle program in 2011 and the 2020 first crewed mission of SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket, Soyuz rockets were the only launch vehicles able and approved for transporting astronauts to the International Space Station.